Philippine President says Marcos in right place

Philippine President says Marcos in right place

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos JrMarcos Jr said on Saturday that Marcos was in the right place due to the volatile geopolitical situation and fallout from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, but he believes that Pelosi's visit did not raise the intensity of a situation that was already volatile, and that he believes that Pelosi's trip was timely and underscored the importance of the US-Philippine relationship.

Blinken is the highest ranking US official to have been in the Philippines since the inauguration of Marcos, the son of the late strongman who Washington helped escape into exile in Hawaii after a 1986 people power uprising.

He assured Marcos that the United States would honour its commitments to their decades-old joint defence pact.

Blinken told Marcos that the alliance is strong and that it can grow stronger.

We are committed to working with the Philippines on shared challenges because we are committed to the mutual defense treaty. The Philippines is a thorn in the middle of the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China, and Marcos faces a difficult task in balancing his country's ties between the two major economic powers.

The US-Philippines ties were shaken by the overtures towards China by Marcos' predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, his frequent outbursts over his disdain for the United States and his threats to downgrade their defence ties.

On Saturday, the Chinese military accused the Chinese military of simulating an attack on its main island, as they deployed fighter jets and warships just 400 km north of the Philippines.

Marcos said Pelosi's trip showed the intensity of the conflict. He told Blinken that they had been at that level for a long time, but they have sort of got used to it, he said.

Blinken held a virtual meeting with Philippine foreign minister, Enrique Manalo, who is recovering from COVID-19.

Manalo said Washington was an important ally, partner and friend, but also stressed to Blinken the need for calm to prevail as tensions over Taiwan, an island just 260 km from the Philippines mainland.

Manalo said that the Philippines is going to look at the big powers to help calm the waters and keep the peace.

We can't afford any further escalation of tensions in the region. Blinken said peace and security was a challenge the United States had to deal with everywhere, but it determined to act responsibly, so that we can avoid conflict.