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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.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.