USA: In response to China's efforts to impose its influence in the South China Sea, US President Joe Biden and his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., reiterated their support for freedom of navigation and overflight on Thursday.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Biden and Marcos Jr. spoke for the first time in person. In June, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the late president of the Philippines, took office.
After the talks, the White House released a statement saying that the leaders "discussed the situation in the South China Sea and underscored their support for freedom of navigation and overflight as well as the peaceful resolution of disputes."
As the two men started talking, Biden stated that he wanted to discuss the South China Sea, COVID-19, and renewable energy. For opposing Russia's war in Ukraine, he thanked Marcos.
China has been charged with increasing its "provocations" against rival claimants to South China Sea territory and other nations operating there, according to the United States.
All of the nations in the region, and the Philippines in particular, greatly value the United States' contribution to preserving peace in the region, according to Marcos.
Given its geographic location, the Philippines is an important ally of the United States and crucial strategically in the event that the US needs to militarily defend Taiwan from a mainland Chinese attack. Given the need to plan for that eventuality, the US is eager to set up more access to bases in the Philippines.
"The leaders discussed how crucial the US-Philippines alliance is. According to the White House, President Biden "reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to the defence of the Philippines.
A relative of Marcos who serves as Manila's ambassador to the US said this month that the Philippines would only allow US forces to use its military bases in the event of a conflict with Taiwan "if it is important for us, for our own security."
The encounter with Biden highlights the remarkable change in circumstances for the disgraced former ruling family of the Philippines, 36 years after the exile of Ferdinand Marcos due to a "people power" uprising.
The newly elected president is visiting the country for the first time in 15 years. For refusing to cooperate with a Hawaii court that determined the Marcos family must pay US$2 billion of looted wealth to victims of abuses during his father's martial law era, he is the subject of a US contempt-of-court order.
He has denied claims that members of his family stole money from the government, and as head of state, he enjoys diplomatic immunity.