US, Philippines to negotiate nuclear power tech-sharing pact

US Vice-President Kamala Harris. (Image by Gage Skidmore, Flickr.)

The US and the Philippines will open talks on a deal for the Asian nation to build nuclear power plants with American technology, Vice President Kamala Harris announced.

Harris is set to meet Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte Carpio in Manila on Monday as part of an Asian trip to deepen security and economic ties. Last week, she unveiled a clean-energy partnership with Thailand that includes a US offer of help with building small nuclear reactors.

Talks on a civil nuclear-energy agreement with the Philippines will aim for deploying advanced reactor technology to help the Philippines meet its power needs. Any deal would provide the legal basis for US exports of nuclear equipment and material, according to a White House fact sheet.

In a bid to boost the supply chain for critical minerals, the US also will support development of a nickel and cobalt processing facility in the Philippines.

The facility will expand the Philippines’ production of refined nickel and cobalt by 20,000 metric tons per year and enhance sustainable development of those critical minerals, the White House said.

Defense pact

The US military currently operates at five sites in the Philippines, with the two countries conducting joint military exercises.

The two countries have identified new locations to expand their defense cooperation pact, but exact locations and their uses will not yet be publicized, a senior administration official told reporters.

Manila is Harris’s second stop on her trip to the region, following her stop in Thailand. She departs Tuesday for Palawan, on the edge of the disputed South China Sea, which is claimed in whole or in part by several countries including China and the Philippines.

(By Jenny Leonard)

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