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The United States and the Philippines have agreed on some details of a proposed framework agreement, determining which military facilities in the Philippines that U.S. troops will be able to access, officials said Thursday.
During the first formal talks on Wednesday, the two sides laid the foundation for further talks to discuss activities to be carried out by U.S. troops in the Philippines.
The "increased rotational presence" of U.S. troops in the region is aimed at boosting the Philippines's defense capabilities amid rising tensions with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
According to sources, the United States is seeking access to Subic Bay, Clark Air Base, Cebu and Palawan, a province facing the South China Sea.
Foreign Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta said the Philippine negotiating panel demands from the United States full respect of Philippine sovereignty and control over the facilities.
Manila also emphasized the importance of the constitutional ban on nuclear weapons.
Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino said the accord will also include security and ownership issues, protection of the environment, and guidelines on how to deal with disputes.
It will serve as a guideline for joint military exercises, including the prepositioning of equipment for disaster response and development of Philippine military facilities.
"I will not talk about the exact size and shape of the visiting troops and equipment from the U.S.," Batino said, declining to give further details.
Both sides agreed to hold the second round of consultations and negotiations in Washington later this month.
According to Sorreta, Manila expects the talks to conclude after four rounds of negotiations.
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