Bongbong Marcos: No US request to deploy PH troops once China-Taiwan tension escalates
WASHINGTON D.C., United States — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday (Friday morning in Manila) said the Philippines will not deploy troops should tensions in the Taiwan Strait escalate, assuring that sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) will not be used for offensive military action.
In a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies here, Marcos was asked if the United States has asked the Philippine government to contribute to military operations should war break out between the US and China over Taiwan.
“The short answer is no,” he said.
Marcos explained that the Edca sites were primarily for aid during disaster situations in the country as a result of effects of climate change.
He, however, acknowledged that other nations, particularly China, have apprehensions about the deal amid rising tensions.
“The Edca sites were conceptualized to be the places that we could use so as to be able to provide a quicker relief, quicker rescue, and do a better job of rehabilitating and reconstructing the damage that will be caused by these disasters,” Marcos said.
“Then the security and defense aspect became part of that mission and that’s why it became sensitive. That is why China has been terribly critical,” he also said.
To quell China’s fears, Marcos said he has personally assured Chinese foreign minister Shin Gang during a recent meeting that the Edca sites are not intended to launch any attack against China.
“The foreign minister of China just visited with me … and I told him and I assured him that no, these are not … intended to be military bases to attack, to move against anyone, any country, not China, not any country,” he said.
Marcos said the use of Edca bases for “offensive action” would be outside the parameters of what Manila had discussed with the United States and added that Washington had never brought up the possibility that they would be used as “staging areas” for offensive action against any country.
“To be fair, the US has never brought up the possibility that the US will use the Edca sites as staging areas for any offensive action against any country,” he said.
“The US has never said that this is a possibility,” the President added. With reports from Reuters