Philippines and US to hold 2-plus-2 security talks on April 11

Philippine Secretary of National Defence Carlito Galvez (left) and US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall preside a groundbreaking ceremony for the runway rehabilitation of Basa Air Base in Pampanga province, the Philippines, on March 20. - AFP

HANOI, March 25 (Vietnam News/ANN): The Philippines and the US will hold security talks in Washington on April 11, the first in about seven years, a spokesman of the US Embassy in Manila had announced.

The dialogue, which involves their foreign and defence chiefs, is the latest sign that Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s government is eager to enhance its alliance with the US, reported Kyodo news agency.

Also, from April 11, the two countries will kick off their annual Balikatan military exercise with a total of over 17,000 soldiers, including those from Australia, Philippine defence chief Carlito Galvez said.

Plans are also underway for Manila and Tokyo toward signing a Visiting Forces Agreement so that Japan's Self-Defence Forces can take part in joint military exercises in the Philippines, the official added.

Earlier, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said his country and the Philippines will announce new sites as soon as possible within the framework of the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which allows the US access to military bases in the Southeast Asian country.

Last month, the Philippine President granted the US access to four more military bases, in addition to the existing five under the EDCA. - Vietnam News/ANN

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