February 7, 2023

In the meetings in Manila dominated by discussions about the heightened tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan While visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Blinken said a 70-year-old defense pact with the Philippines was “strict.”

“An armed attack on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, public vessels and aircraft would require the United States’ mutual defense commitments under that treaty,” Blinken told a news conference.

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

Blinken was the most senior US official to meet new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late strongman whom Washington helped flee into exile in Hawaii during the 1986 “people power” uprising that ended his two decades of rule.

In opening remarks to Blinken, Marcus sought to reduce diplomatic tension over Taiwan and said he believed Pelosi’s trip “did not exacerbate” an already volatile situation.

“We’ve been at that level for a long time, but we kind of got used to the idea,” Marcus said.

The Philippines is a fulcrum of the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China, and Marcos faces a difficult challenge in balancing the relations between the two major powers.

He will also face internal pressures to stand up to him China In the South China Sea, without angering its leadership.

Relations between the United States and the Philippines have been shaken by predecessor Rodrigo Duterte’s overtures to China, his famous anti-US rhetoric, and threats to reduce their military ties.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said on Saturday that President Joe Biden had invited Marcos to visit Washington, and that the two sides were working on an appropriate date.

Marcus has not been to the United States in more than a decade, in large part out of contempt of a court order for his refusal to cooperate with a Hawaii court, which in 1995 ordered the Marcos family to return $2 billion in lost state wealth to victims of abuse. by the state under his father’s rule.

Marcus Jr. Her mother Imelda is also facing a fine of $353 million.

The US embassy in Manila said heads of state enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Manalo said Washington was an important ally, but as far as neighboring Taiwan was concerned, Blinken told Blinken that the Philippines “is looking to major powers to help calm the atmosphere.”

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

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