Philippine Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez announced on Thursday that American forces would be granted more extensive access to Philippine military bases, adding four sites to the five already available to the United States for training, equipment storage, and infrastructure upgrades.
Galvez made the announcement in a joint press conference with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The two did not specify the four new facilities that would be opened to the U.S. military, but Galvez noted the United States has requested access to the northwestern island of Luzon and the southwestern island of Palawan.
Luzon is the Philippine territory closest to Taiwan, while Palawan is closest to the Spratly Islands, a territory China has been making aggressive moves to seize despite competing claims from the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.
“Our alliance makes…