The Philippines booted the U.S. military out of the country 25 years ago, deriding the American troops as unwelcome guests and living symbols of colonialism. Now, fearful of a rising China, Manila is asking Washington to send them back.

The push got a major boost Tuesday when the Philippine Supreme Court approved a landmark defense cooperation deal with the United States that paves the way for American forces to deploy to an array of bases throughout the country.

The new deal represents a concrete success for the Obama administration’s “rebalance” to Asia and reflects a broader trend in the region as China’s smaller neighbors seek to push back against Beijing’s expansionist claims in the contested South China Sea. – Foreign Policy