Biden strengthens his support for the Philippines with planes and ships to contain China

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The United States and the Philippines are best friends again. China has inadvertently reconciled them. The presidents of the American superpower and its former colony strengthened bilateral ties yesterday during a visit by Ferdinand Marcos jr. to the White House that definitively leaves behind long years of coldness in the relationship; first during the dark years of the cruel and kleptocratic rule of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos – the parents of Biden's guest – and more recently during the era of closest proximity between Manila and Beijing during the six-year term of the Rodrigo Duterte government (2016-2022).

Manila is an increasingly important piece on the chessboard in the cold war raging in the South China Sea, with Taiwan a focus of tensions. Four months after agreeing to US access to four Philippine military bases, added in February to the five used long before by the Pentagon under the Enhanced Indo-Pacific Defense Cooperation Pact, Biden pledged yesterday before Marcos to continue rearming the army of his country.

Geopolitics, in this case the cold war with China, prevails over the dark heritage of the Philippine president

The US president announced the transfer of three C-130 aircraft to the archipelago, adding to “several” Cyclone-class coastal patrol boats already on their way to the Philippines. The US government also plans to increase the number of lookout ships in the near future: a constant priority in waters frequently troubled by Chinese incursions into marine territories that the Philippines and Taiwan consider theirs.

Biden, through his team, reaffirmed his country's commitment to the Mutual Defense treaty, signed with the Philippines in 1951. The pact establishes that both nations support each other if a third party attacks either of them.

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Fernando Garcia

US support for the Philippine military far exceeds the increase in material aid from the US power, said White House Homeland Security spokesman John Kirby. The armed forces of the two nations will intensify "joint planning, tactical interoperability and information sharing, and will continue to conduct training with forces from both sides."

Talks between the presidents and their defense teams also included, according to senior Washington officials, the search for new locations in the Philippines where US troops could be stationed.

So much warmth towards the heir to the autocrats Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos would have been unthinkable just over a year ago

In his reception to Marcos Jr., Biden seasoned the strengthening of the military alliance with the announcement of various economic cooperation actions, including the upcoming sending of a mission to the Asian country to "improve US investments in the innovation economy of the Philippines, promote its transition of clean energy and the sector of critical minerals”, and shore up “the food security of the population” of the islands.

The US will help its ally in the deployment of 5G technology, in the financing to obtain minerals for electric vehicle components, in the development of “smart” electrical networks and in the improvement of airport and maritime security or the healthcare industry.

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It is a full-fledged reconciliation clearly led by the realpolitik American in times of maximum tension with China in the Pacific.

"The United States reiterates its strong commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including in the South China Sea, and we will continue to support the country's military modernization," Biden told Marcos in the Oval Office of the White House.

The United States reiterates its strong commitment to the defense of the Philippines, including in the South China Sea."


Joe BidenUS President

"We are very grateful to the leadership of the President of the Philippines in advancing our alliance," said Kirby, who described as "amazing" the turn that the relationship has taken in the last year, since Marcos Jr. became president last June. .

And it is that so much warmth towards the Philippine president would have been unthinkable a year or a little more ago. The son of the couple that he subjected to his country between 1965 and 1986 was until recently a pariah for a large part of the international community, and is still facing a class action lawsuit related to the non-payment of compensation for human rights violations of the father of he.

But geopolitical urgency, particularly the cold war with China, takes precedence over other considerations. Including some that were held to be sacred.

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Ismael Arana​Hong Kong Correspondent


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