“Suspension” of VFA termination, not a surprise
Rodrigo Duterte’s “suspension” of the notice of termination for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which he signed on February 11 came as no surprise.
Since the issuance of the notice, it was very obvious that the regime will not proceed with the termination. Duterte only wanted to seek more funds and weapons from the US for his regime. Duterte suspended the termination after the US certified its aprroval of Duterte’s request to buy new helicopters, missiles and other military equipment worth P75 billion.
The suspension is linked with plans of the US to further heighten its military presence in the South China Sea and use the Philippines as a operational base in view of increasing anti-China jingoism and war preparations of the US government.
While many countries are focusing their efforts on combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, the US has been very busy heightening its presence in the South China Sea for the past three months. It has deployed to warships in the said area in April, and has regularly flown fighter jets. US and Australian troops also conducted a military exercise in the said area in May.