China has developed military bases and placed missiles on artificial islands in the disputed waters that are subject to claims by many bordering countries, including the Philippines.
Recently, the Philippines and the United States on Tuesday launched the first facility under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).
Officials present at the inauguration at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga included Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim.
The multi-purpose warehouse, which will be used to store assets for humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), is the first of five projects under the Edca.
Aside from Basa Air Base, another warehouse will be built at Antonio Bautista Air Base on Palawan once U.S. funding proceeds.
The 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement allows U.S. military forces and contractors to operate at agreed locations in the Philippines. It specifies that the U.S. can’t set up permanent bases, but it will enable operational control of the areas to U.S. forces to stockpile defense equipment.
The United States is also working with the Philippine government on projects at Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.