Marcos said the trilateral agreement between the United States, Japan and the Philippines will change the situation in the South China Sea

In Global Shorts
15 4 月, 2024

 

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday that a cooperation agreement between the Philippines, the United States and Japan would change dynamics in the South China Sea and the region, while seeking to reassure China that it was not a target. “I think the trilateral agreement is extremely important,” Marcos said at a news conference in Washington, a day after meeting U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the first trilateral summit. Marcos was talking about Southeast Asia. “This will change the dynamics that we see in the region, in Asia and ASEAN, around the South China Sea,” the alliance said. The three leaders expressed “grave concerns” about China’s “dangerous and aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea. However, Marcos said the summit was “not against any country” but focused on deepening economic and security ties between Manila, Washington and Tokyo. China claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea despite a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration that found Beijing’s broad claims had no legal basis. There have been a series of clashes between Philippine and Chinese vessels over the past month, including the use of water cannons and heated verbal confrontations.
Beijing on Thursday summoned Manila’s ambassador to China and a Japanese embassy official to object to what its foreign ministry called “negative comments” against China. The deepening dispute between China and the Philippines coincides with increased U.S. security engagement under Marcos, including expanded U.S. access to bases in the Philippines, as well as security engagement with Japan, which is expected to sign a reciprocal troop presence agreement with Manila. Biden has asked Congress to allocate an additional $128 million for infrastructure projects at bases in the Philippines. Marcos also expressed confidence that some $100 billion in investment deals that could be struck over the next five to 10 years after the summit will come to fruition. While in Washington, Marcos also met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who assured him of continued U.S. support. “This entire collaboration is critical to the collective security and continued prosperity of our entire region,” Austin said, reaffirming Biden’s strong defense commitment.