Mr. Gregory Poling extended Mr. Ernest Bower’s position on EDCA with a security bent. He told that the agreement is critical to the national interests of both the Philippines and the US. Philippine national interest is the preservation of exclusivity of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On the other hand, US national interest is threefold: (1) preservation of international rules and norms, (2) preservation of freedom of navigation, and (3) maintenance of peaceful and stable relationships with countries in the region. He elaborated that through EDCA, the US will be empowered to: (1) assist the Philippines directly with surveillance and maritime domain awareness, (2) put the US in a position to respond more credibly should Philippine troops, ships and other vessels come under threat in the South China Sea, and (3) channel funds and lay down infrastructures in Philippine military bases which, in the long run, will benefit the AFP.
Gregory B. Poling is the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and a fellow with the Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at CSIS. He oversees research projects focused on U.S. foreign policy in the Asia Pacific, with a particular focus on the maritime domain and the countries of Southeast Asia. His research interests include the South China Sea disputes, democratization in Southeast Asia, and Asian multilateralism. Mr. Poling’s writings have been featured in theWall Street Journal, Nikkei Asian Review,Journal of Political Risk, and YaleGlobal, among others. He is the author of The South China Sea in Focus: Clarifying the Limits of Maritime Dispute (CSIS, July 2013) and coauthor of multiple works including Building a More Robust U.S.-Philippines Alliance (CSIS, August 2015), A New Era in U.S.-Vietnam Relations: Deepening Ties Two Decades after Normalization (CSIS, June 2014), and A U.S.-Indonesia Partnership for 2020: Recommendations for Forging a 21st Century Relationship CSIS, September 2013). Mr. Poling received an M.A. in international affairs from American University, a B.A. in history and philosophy from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and studied at Fudan University in Shanghai.