EDCA of course is the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the Philippines and US governments which is envisioned to advance the implementation of the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
Like the Philippines-U.S. MDT, EDCA is a new name concocted and agreed by both governments following the much talked about U.S. ‘pivot’ to Asia. It continues to be a mutual desire of both countries for peace, security and stability with the Philippines once again providing the land and the U.S. bringing in their military hardware, to include vessels and planes, logistics and their expertise in training and boosting the military capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
But, why this ‘pivot’ or strategic shift of interest to Asia after the Americans led fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Could it be that the rise and dominance of China in the region the reason why the U.S. is strengthening its alliance with the Philippines and forging defense agreements like EDCA?
But, is the U.S. presence in the Philippines an act to protect the maritime interest of the country in its hotly contested territorial dispute with China or is it more geared towards safeguarding and sustaining America’s own political, social and economic interest in the ASEAN region?
The U.S. may be critical of China’s historical claim of almost all of the South China Sea, but it has always opted that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means and would not take sides.
It is short of saying that the U.S., despite its presence in Philippine soil, won’t confront China militarily, much less take the cudgels and go to war for an ally on a maritime dispute.
It is not covered in EDCA now and neither was it covered by the 1951 MDT then.
If this is the case, how could EDCA be a deterrent against China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea?
It looks like the natural resources, both in and under the South China Sea, are for China’s taking anytime – with impunity.