Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Biden hosts first Philippines-Japan summit as China looms

Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (L), US President Joe Biden (C) and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R)
Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (L), US President Joe Biden (C) and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) - Copyright AFP DAVID GRAY, Jim WATSON, Eugene Hoshiko
Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (L), US President Joe Biden (C) and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) - Copyright AFP DAVID GRAY, Jim WATSON, Eugene Hoshiko
Danny KEMP

US President Joe Biden holds the first ever summit with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines Thursday to show support for Manila against China’s growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

Biden’s three-way meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos follows repeated confrontations between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the hotly contested waterway.

“President Marcos is coming under pressure from the PRC’s aggressive tactics,” a senior US administration official told reporters, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

“What you’ll see is a clear demonstration of support and resolve from both President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Marcos.”

The three countries are expected to announce new joint naval exercises along with Australia, similar to drills they had in the region at the weekend, officials said.

They are also set to unveil new economic cooperation measures.

Biden, 81, and Marcos, 66, who is seen as closer to Washington than his more authoritarian and China-leaning predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, will also hold separate talks on Thursday.

Kishida is already in Washington following a lavish state visit on Wednesday during which he and Biden unveiled the biggest ever upgrade in defense ties between their countries.

– ‘Ironclad’ –

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, brushing aside competing claims from several Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, and an international ruling that has declared its stance baseless.

The United States has a mutual defense pact with Manila and has repeatedly declared its “ironclad” commitment to defending the Philippines against an armed attack in the South China Sea.

Tensions have become particularly acute around the Second Thomas Shoal, a remote reef in the Spratly Islands. 

Biden’s commitment to the Philippines was “clear” and he had “repeated many times” that Washington’s defense treaty applied to the South China Sea, a second US official said.

The trilateral summit is part of Biden’s efforts to seal alliances with like-minded nations in a region that both Beijing and Washington consider part of their geopolitical backyard.

They are the latest Asia-Pacific allies to be hosted by Biden, who was joined by Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at Camp David in August.

Biden has also moved to manage tensions with China, holding a two-hour phone call with President Xi Jinping last week and a face-to-face meeting in San Francisco in November.

On Wednesday Biden said the major upgrade in defense ties with Japan was “purely defensive” and “not aimed at any one nation or a threat to the region.”

But tensions have continued to mount.

Talks are still underway between the Philippines and Japan for a defense pact that would allow the countries to deploy troops on each other’s territory. 

Manila already has a similar agreement with Australia and the United States.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Business

Bullets made out of money never miss and don’t make appointments.

Entertainment

"Scarlett Dreams" is an Off-Broadway show which explores such subject matters as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).

Business

Control towers, data cleansing, and quicker planning all AI strengths in supply chain management

Tech & Science

A relative new smartphone to appear on the market and one packed with features but at a budget price is the TCL 50 5G.