DFA: PH may not allow US to use Edca sites for military involvement in Taiwan | Inquirer News

DFA: PH may not allow US to use Edca sites for military involvement in Taiwan

/ 04:56 PM April 19, 2023

The United States could not use the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) sites should there be a military conflict over Taiwan, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

DFA CHIEF JOINS SENATE’S EDCA REVIEW: Foreign Affairs Sec. Enrique Manalo attends the Committee on Foreign Relations’ public hearing on the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and United States on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. The Senate committee inquired about establishing four more EDCA bases in the Philippines as part of the country’s commitments under the defense alliance. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines —In a military conflict involving Taiwan, the United States could not utilize the facilities granted under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Manalo made the statement on Wednesday during a session with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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Senator Imee Marcos asks Manalo: “Shall we allow the storage of materials for Taiwan operations, as you see it? We talked about humanitarian operations; we are all agreed with you, we’re totally with you there … Pero paano ‘yung pag-iimbak ng mga weaponry ng mga sandatahan laban sa Taiwan? Hahayaan ba natin o hindi? [But what about the weaponry storage against Taiwan, would we let it or not?] Secretary Manalo, you said we could agree on additional activities, and you are absolutely right. Will we agree?”

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In response, Manalo said: “If that should ever arise, that eventuality, we will be guided by the main purposes of the Edca … and we would not agree to any kind of activity or even materials not consistent with these agreed activities.

“And therefore, I think it would be along those lines that if there were ever proposals, we would have to find out whether it’s consistent with this agreement,” he added.

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The senator further pressed: “In the event of US military involvement in Taiwan. Will we allow the US to enable assets to refuel in the Edca sites? Will we allow them to repair assets in the various Edca sites? Will we allow US assets to be reloaded with ammunition at the Edca sites? Consistently we would not? Is that correct, Secretary Manalo?”

Manalo said in response: “Madam Chairperson, if guided by the Edca agreement, that would be correct.”

Malacañang has identified the four new Edca sites, two in Cagayan and one in Isabela, provinces relatively near Taiwan.

A potential conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan looms as tensions continue to simmer, according to a senior US military official.

China has warned the Philippines that it would be embroiled in the China-Taiwan conflict by letting US forces use its military bases, particularly those close to Taiwan.

The DFA official, meanwhile, reiterated that the objective of Edca is not aimed at any “third country.”

“Also, as I’ve mentioned, our view is that Edca is not aimed at any third country outside, it’s meant for the use of the Philippines and of course, in connection with our treaty (Mutual Defense Treaty) with the United States…” he said.

“Our main foreign policy is really to be friends to all. And therefore, I think anything inconsistent with that would not be also consistent with our position,” he added.

The Edca, signed in 2014 during late President Benigno S. Aquino’s administration, allows US troops to rotate through Philippines military bases and store defense equipment and supplies inside them.

Edca is part of the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty’s (MDT) commitments.

Signed by two parties on August 30, 1951, the MDT states that both countries would support each other if an external party attacked the Philippines or the United States.

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READ: Galvez says Edca is just for deterrence, not preparation for war

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