Trump and Duterte in 2017. Photo: Rolex Dela Pena/AFP via Getty Images

The Philippines has announced that it no longer plans to terminate a major military pact with the U.S. — at least for now.

Why it matters: The Visiting Forces Agreement — which allows U.S. and Philippine troops to conduct joint exercises and share intelligence — will resume at least for the next six months amid China's continued militarization in the South China Sea.

Driving the news: The Philippines' Foreign Affairs department on Monday informed the U.S. that "in light of political and other developments in the region, the termination of the agreement is hereby suspended."

  • The U.S. Embassy welcomed the move: "Our long-standing alliance has benefited both countries, and we look forward to continued close security and defense cooperation with the Philippines."

Flashback: Manila sent a notice of termination to Washington in February following the cancellation of a U.S. visa for Ronald dela Rosa, a close aid to President Rodrigo Duterte seen as the architect of Duterte's deadly drug war.

  • The announcement that the VFA would be terminated led to concerns about U.S. deterrence capacity in the critical South China Sea, where the territorial claims of China, the Philippines and four other countries overlap.

The big picture: The Philippines is America's oldest military ally in Asia, but the relationship has deteriorated under Duterte, who openly prefers to partner with China.

Go deeper: America's oldest military ally in Asia turns toward China

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - World

U.S. presses Israel to cool ties with China over support for Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Aug. 24. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday to further cool relations with China and limit Chinese investments in Israel over the new strategic partnership agreement China signed with Iran, Israeli and U.S. officials said.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has been lobbying Israel for two years to scale back its relations with China. Until now, those efforts have had very little success.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.