Philippines signs nuclear deal with US with aim of introducing nuclear power

The Philippines has concluded a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the signing ceremony on Thursday in San Francisco. He said he hopes to see nuclear power become part of the country's "energy mix" by 2032 and called the deal an achievement based on the US-Philippine alliance.

Under the agreement, the Philippines will buy nuclear material, equipment and technology from US companies.

The Southeast Asian nation faces chronic power shortages as its population keeps growing. It currently gets about 60 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants.

Under the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos, the current president's father, the country once attempted to introduce nuclear power.

The Bataan nuclear power plant was the first such plant in Southeast Asia when it was completed in 1984. But the plant was mothballed after the Ferdinand Marcos administration collapsed. The current administration is considering putting the plant into operation.

Observers say Washington hopes to promote cooperation with Manila in various fields. The two countries are strengthening security ties, apparently in light of possible contingencies in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.