According to Reuters Manila, the Philippine Defense Secretary said on the 11th local time that the Philippine defense agency hopes to continue the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.
“The overall feeling of our Department of Defense and the Armed Forces personnel is the desire to continue the Visiting Forces Agreement,” Philippine Defense Secretary Delphin Lorenzana told local ANC news channel, the report said.
Lorenzana said that the Visiting Forces Agreement sets rules for American soldiers fighting in the Philippines.
Through dozens of joint U.S.-Philippine training exercises every year, it is essential to improve the capacity of under-resourced Philippine troops.
It is reported that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stressed the importance of the agreement during a telephone call with Lorenzana on the 10th local time.
Lorenzana also said that although the Philippines’ relationship with the United States “has always been strong”, the Philippines “should not be forced to make a choice” between Washington and Beijing.