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Philippines chooses US over China after Beijing's failure to keep its promise

ANI | Updated: Aug 07, 2021 02:41 IST

Manila [Philippines] August 7 (ANI): The Philippines government restored the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US military, which shows that Beijing has failed to deliver enough to the Southeast Asian archipelago, VOA reported.
Philippines had scrapped this agreement with the US 18 months back, but China had not delivered enough to sustain a friendship with Manila which pulled back Manila to restore the agreement, experts informed.
"Had China delivered more on its promises of infrastructure and investment, it could have given Duterte (Philippines President) a more solid ground and a solid push to stay adamant on the VFA," said Yun Sun, senior fellow and co-director of the East Asia program at the Stimson Center.
It is widely observed that the Chinese promises never really transpired for Duterte," he added.
Against a promised sum of USD 33 billion in aid and investment in the fast-growing, infrastructure-thirsty Southeast Asian archipelago, the country has only received USD 4.7 billion of China's pledges, VOA reported.

Duterte, who took office in 2016, had finally come to realize that China would not deliver on pledges made.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday thanked Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for "full restoration" of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) on the deployment of US troops in the country.
This decision was announced during the last leg of Austin's Southeast Asian trip to hold high-level discussions on security issues.
In February 2020, Manila notified Washington of the termination of the military agreement VFA. However, in June and November of the same year, the Philippines suspended the entry of the decision into force for a period of six months.
The 1998 deal provides legal permission for US troops who rotate into the Philippines for military and humanitarian assistance exercises each year.
Earlier, Duterte had indicated that he favoured ties with China and Russia over ties with the US, The Voice of America (VOA) reported. His spokesperson had said the reason for terminating the VFA was to allow the Philippines military to be more independent.
In another recent development, China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions. (ANI)