PH working to avoid getting 'trampled' by US and China | Global News

PH working to avoid getting ‘trampled’ by US and China

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 08:41 PM January 20, 2023
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has said the Philippines is working on ways to avoid being “trampled” by two competing superpowers — the United States and China.

RANGE OF ISSUES President Marcos and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos board the plane to Beijing on January 4, 2023, for his three-day state visit to China. (Photo by MARIANNE BERMUDEZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has said the Philippines is working on ways to avoid being “trampled” by two competing superpowers — the United States and China.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Friday, Marcos said the Philippines is walking a fine line between the two superpowers: increasing its cooperation with the US and developing mechanisms to defuse tension with China amid the intense geopolitical rivalry in the Asia Pacific region.

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The President cited an African proverb: When elephants fight, the only one that gets trampled is the grass.

“We are the grass in this situation. We don’t want to get trampled,” Marcos said, as quoted by the PCO.

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He added that the Philippines is on the front line, noting that 150,000 Filipino nationals live in Taiwan and that the southern port city of Kaohsiung is 40 minutes away from the northernmost island of Batanes.

The Philippines is also in a territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, with the Asian giant claiming it almost entirely.

During his visit to Beijing this month, Marcos said he proposed to Chinese President Xi Jinping that an existing bilateral team responsible for tackling South China Sea incidents be upgraded to include senior officials on both sides with direct access to the countries’ respective heads of government.

The PCO said the Philippines is in a precarious balancing act, considering its bilateral ties with the two countries.

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China is one of the country’s largest trading partners, while the US and the Philippines have a longstanding defense treaty.

The PCO said the President also confirmed he expected intensified military relations with the US, with more US troops and military assets rotating through the Philippines.

Marcos also said the discussion about defense cooperation with Japan is continuing and that his government is trying to put together Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

He, however, ruled out the reopening of the former US military bases in Clark and Subic, saying it was against the country’s Constitution to allow foreign bases on its soil, the PCO said.

JPV/abc
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TAGS: China, Philippines, superpower, United States, US
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