Today: Tuesday, 5 March 2024 year

Biden will discuss military cooperation with the President of the Philippines.

Biden will discuss military cooperation with the President of the Philippines.

US President Joe Biden is set to discuss with Philippine counterpart Ferdinand Marcos Jr. the development of military cooperation between the two countries, concerned about China’s activity in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior US administration official told reporters.

He called the meeting scheduled for Monday at the White House “the first bilateral contact of this level and intensity in decades” and the continuation of Biden’s work with regional leaders.

“He (Marcos Jr.) has a strong desire to work closely with both countries (the US and China), but finds himself in a situation where China’s actions are of deep concern. In this context, we have taken significant steps in terms of bilateral cooperation, resuming protocols and mechanisms… we strengthen and develop alliances,” the official said.

In Washington and Manila, Chinese forces have recently been accused of provocations against Philippine ships in the South China Sea.


The White House spokesman recalled that if until now military cooperation with the Philippines has been limited to assistance in the fight against terrorists on the island of Mindanao, now we are talking about the development of maritime and aviation capabilities, the transfer of aircraft and boats, joint exercises, patrols and planning.

 


In February, the Philippines, under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), granted the US military access to four new facilities on its territory, in addition to the five previously agreed. The official signaled that the US would promote defense cooperation between the Philippines and its other allies in the region, including Japan.

“I think this week is meant to be part of a diversification of what we think is a very important primary security engagement of the last few months. You’ll see the president focusing not only on defense commitments, but other topics as well,” the White House spokesman said.


Among them, according to him, are trade, educational, environmental and humanitarian initiatives.