As U.S. President Barack Obama descends on the Philippines, Manila and Washington are rushing to complete negotiations on an Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) between the two countries.
The Philippines’ territorial disputes with China are one major reason for this new agreement. With Washington’s help, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III wants to make the Chinese respect the Philippines’ claims in the Scarborough Shoal, the Spratly Islands, the continental shelf, and its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The truth of the matter, however, is that the deal will do no such thing.
What the agreement boils down to is that the Philippines will give the United States the right to operate bases in the country—for no rent—without the guarantee of U.S. protection of the country’s island territories.