Saturday 13 April 2024 - 12:52

US, Japan, Philippines Trilateral Deal to Change Dynamic in South China Sea, Marcos Says

Story Code : 1128311
US, Japan, Philippines Trilateral Deal to Change Dynamic in South China Sea, Marcos Says
“I think the trilateral agreement is extremely important,” Marcos told a press conference in Washington a day after meeting US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the nations’ first trilateral summit, Reuters reported.

“It is going to change the dynamic, the dynamic that we see in the region, in ASEAN, in Asia, around the South China Sea,” Marcos said.

The three leaders expressed “serious concerns” about China’s “dangerous and aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea, a conduit for more than US$3 trillion (S$4 trillion) of annual ship-borne commerce, with various maritime disputes among China and other countries.

Still, Marcos said the summit was “not against any country” but had focused on deepening economic and security relations among Manila, Washington and Tokyo.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea.

Philippine and Chinese ships have had a series of run-ins in the past month that included the use of water cannon and heated verbal exchanges.

Beijing on April 11 summoned Manila’s ambassador to the country and a Japanese embassy official to oppose what its foreign ministry described as “negative comments” against China.

The deepening China-Philippines row coincides with an increase in security engagements with the United States under Marcos, including expansion of US access to Philippine bases, as well as with Japan, which is expected to sign a reciprocal troop pact with Manila.

Biden has asked Congress for an additional US$128 million for infrastructure projects at the Philippine bases.

Marcos also expressed confidence that around US$100 billion in possible investment deals over the next five to 10 years from the summit will come to fruition.

While in Washington, Marcos also met with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who assured him of continued US support.

“This whole cooperation is critical to our collective security and continued prosperity across the region,” Austin said.