April 1, 2023

At the meeting in Manila, the main discussion is the rising tension between the United States and China Taiwan During a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Blinken said a 70-year defense pact with the Philippines was “hard-and-fast.”

“An armed attack on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, public ships and aircraft would invoke the U.S. mutual defense commitments under the treaty,” Blinken said at a news conference.

“The Philippines is an irreplaceable friend, partner and ally of the United States.”

Blinken was the most senior U.S. official to meet the new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jnr., the son of the late strongman, the “people power” uprising that ended his two-decade rule in 1986 During that time, Washington helped him escape to Hawaii for exile.

In his opening remarks to Blinken, Marcos sought to downplay the diplomatic conflict over Taiwan, saying he believed Pelosi’s visit “did not exacerbate” an already volatile situation.

“We’ve been at that level for a while, but we’ve gotten used to the idea,” Marcos said.

The Philippines is the fulcrum of the U.S.-China geopolitical rivalry, and Marcos faces a thorny challenge in balancing the relationship between the two powers.

He will also face domestic pressure China In the South China Sea, its leadership will not be angered.

U.S.-Philippine relations have been rocked by predecessor Rodrigo Duterte’s courtship of China, his famously anti-American rhetoric and threats to lower the two countries’ military ties.

On Saturday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said President Joe Biden had invited Marcos to Washington and the two sides were negotiating a suitable date.

Marcos has not been to the United States for more than a decade, largely because he refused to cooperate with a Hawaii court in contempt of a court order that in 1995 ordered the Marcos family to return $2 billion of missing national wealth to victims of abuse in his father’s case. country under domination.

Marcos’ mother, Imelda, also faces a $353 million fine.

The U.S. embassy in Manila said the head of state has diplomatic immunity.

Manalo said Washington is an important ally, but with regard to nearby Taiwan, he told Blinken that the Philippines “looks at great powers to help calm waters.”

“We cannot afford any further escalation of tensions,” he said.

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