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China Daily Global / 2023-05 / 04 / Page011

Manila dancing to Biden's destructive tune

China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-05-04 00:00

The joint statement issued by US President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday during the latter's visit to the US indicates Washington's latest move to form small cliques with Asia-Pacific countries as part of its overall strategy to contain China. The joint statement also indicates the revival of the Philippines' role as a pawn in the US' competition with China.

Despite repeatedly claiming the Philippines will not be involved in big power competitions, Marcos seems intoxicated by Biden's claim that the US' commitment to defend the Philippines is "ironclad".

In the joint statement, Biden has reaffirmed the US' "ironclad" commitment to the Philippines, claiming that any armed attack on the Philippines' armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, would invoke the US' commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

Before concluding with some US sugarcoated promises on economic cooperation, the statement also underscores Manila's support for the US' stance on the Taiwan question, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Quad, a quadrilateral security dialogue the US has established with Japan, India and Australia.

Manila has jumped on the US bandwagon to serve as a pawn in Washington's regional playbook, ignoring the warnings of opposition voices within the country that the move could push Manila to the forefront of big power competition. The Philippine administration should know that such concerns are real, because it could be the biggest loser in geopolitical competitions between major countries, not least because the US could use it as "cannon fodder". As a matter of fact, the US has more than once betrayed its regional partners and proven to be an untrustworthy ally, as it is only interested in maintaining its global hegemony.

From providing Washington with more military bases to enthusiastically agreeing to serve its "Indo-Pacific strategy", Manila is playing a dangerous game by falling for the charms of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Manila, to be sure, knows what happened when it sided with the US to extract some benefits from the South China Sea issue. It also knows what came about of the whole geopolitical drama orchestrated by the US.

Against the will of the people in the region who cherish peace, stability and development, the US is turning the Asia-Pacific into a venue for power competition. And by dancing to the US' destructive tune, the Philippines will jeopardize the hard-won peace and prosperity in the region.


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