Professor De Castro viewed EDCA from the lens of geopolitics. According to him, China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea brought geopolitics back into the Philippine national security thinking. He explained that China’s strategic goal is to assert control over the entire first island chain where the South China Sea is situated. It began its expansionist march as early as 1988, the waning years of the Cold War. With the withdrawal of the US bases in Subic and Clark in early 1990s that left a political vacuum, China hastened its advance by physically occupying some key features in the disputed sea and deploying anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) weapon systems. PROF. DE CASTRO reiterated that the 2012 Scarborough Shoal incident provided the impetus for the Philippines and the US to expedite the implementation of EDCA and deter further Chinese assertiveness.
Renato Cruz De Castro is a professor in the International Studies Department, De La Salle University, Manila, and the holder of the Charles Lui Chi Keung Professorial Chair in China Studies. He was the U.S. State Department ASEAN Research Fellow from the Philippines, and his expertise includes Philippine-U.S. security relations, Philippine defense and foreign policies, U.S. defense and foreign policies in East Asia, and International politics of East Asia.