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The Nikkei View

US and Philippines must maintain alliance to avert power vacuum

Bilateral pact crucial in checking China's expansion in disputed South China Sea

After much speculation, the Philippines has chosen to keep in place the agreement that defines the legal status of U.S. military forces in the country. The decision to maintain the core element of the bilateral alliance is a welcome development in checking China's militarization of the South China Sea.

Manila agreed to maintain the Visiting Forces Agreement when U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited the Philippines last week -- a major security achievement for Austin on what was his first visit to Southeast Asia as a member of U.S. President Joe Biden's cabinet.

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