China responded when the Philippines increased military cooperation with the US
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China responded when the Philippines increased military cooperation with the US

(Dan Tri) – The Philippines has resumed its strategic defense cooperation relationship with the US since President Ferdinand Marcos took office.

US marines during joint exercise Balikatan with the Philippine army (Photo: Reuters).

On April 3, the Office of the President of the Philippines issued a statement about the government allowing US troops to be stationed at four new military bases on the country’s territory, including a naval base and a military base.

The Philippines’ above decision has further strengthened the government’s pivot policy, which resumes the traditional defense cooperation relationship with the US.

On the occasion of the above visits, the United States once again affirmed its commitment to protecting the safety of allied countries according to the mutual defense treaty signed between Washington D.C. and Manila.

However, some experts say that Manila’s increased cooperation with the US could anger Beijing.

After news that the US could access four more bases in the Philippines, Beijing criticized Washington D.C for causing `danger to peace and stability in the region`.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines had previously warned Manila, and called on the Southeast Asian country to stop following `the wrong path to sow discord` between the two countries.

`Now that China and the Philippines, along with other countries in the region, are at a critical juncture in their post-Covid-19 recovery, we should be on track to maintain good neighborly relations.`

In response, former Philippine Navy Deputy Commander Rommel Jude Ong affirmed that the country has the right to decide on the future of bases located on its territory.

`I think the message here is that the Luzon Strait and the Northern provinces are our territory. We have the right to do appropriate things to protect these strategic areas from China’s maritime ambitions.`

However, the stationing of US troops at four new military bases also makes some local governments in the Philippines concerned.

Cagayan Provincial Governor Manuel Mamba once spoke out against allowing the use of local military bases due to concerns that China would cut investments here.

`It’s really hard to imagine a scenario where the Philippines will avoid being dragged into the tension between the US and China. I feel like I’m on the front line,` Mr. Mamba told AFP news agency.

In response to Governor Mamba’s above statement, the Philippine Department of National Defense recently spoke out to reassure public opinion and affirmed that the expansion of bases allowing US troops to station has received support from local authorities.

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