WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden and his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos, held their first face-to-face talks on Thursday (Sep 22) with tensions within the South China Sea high on their agenda.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Marcos, son of the past due Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, took power in June.
Biden said as the two men started their talks that he wanted to talk about the South China Sea, where China is exerting its influence, and also COVID-19 and renewable energy. He thanked Marcos for opposing Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“The function of the United States in maintaining the peace in our region is something that is a lot appreciated by all the countries in the region as well as the Philippines especially, inch Marcos said.
The Philippines is really a key ally within of the United States and essential strategically in case of any kind of US need to protect Taiwan militarily through Chinese attack, given its geographical position.
The United States is keen to arrange greater access to bases in the Philippines given the need to prepare for that contingency.
Manila’s ambassador to the United States, a family member of Marcos, told Japan’s Nikkei newspaper this month the Philippines would allow us to forces use the Southeast Asian nation’s military bases in the event of a Taiwan conflict just “if it is important for us, for our own security”.
The ending up in Biden underlines the stunning turnaround in fortunes for the disgraced former first family of the Philippines, 36 years after Marcos’s father was powered into exile by a “people power” violent uprising.
The new president is on his first trip to the United States within 15 years. He or she is the subject of an US contempt-of-court order with regard to refusing to work with a Hawaii courtroom that ruled the particular Marcos family must pay US$2 billion of plundered wealth to victims of abuses during his father’s martial law era.
He’s rejected allegations his family stole through the treasury and has diplomatic immunity as mind of state, some thing stated by ALL OF US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during a visit to the particular Philippines in June.
Gregory Poling, a Southeast Asian countries expert at Washington’s Center for Tactical and International Studies think thank, mentioned the meeting with Biden was a sign the Biden administration had been serious about deepening the long-standing US alliance with the Philippines.