PH keeps keen eye on Taiwan situation | Global News

PH keeps keen eye on Taiwan situation

/ 05:38 AM July 21, 2023

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE)

The government is constantly monitoring the threat of China’s possible invasion of its closest northern neighbor Taiwan as part of the Philippines’ contingency plans in case of a conflict, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said on Thursday.

“We really have to make an assessment whether such is likely or not. Nonetheless, we continue to plan on all contingencies, not merely any flash point between China and Taiwan, but any contingency within the theater. And it’s a multi-agency effort, not only a defense effort,” Teodoro said at a press briefing.


He declined to discuss the contingency plans in detail, but said the situation was being monitored on a daily basis. “Hopefully, the engagements bilaterally between the United States and China lead to the diffusion of tensions in that theater,” he added.


Safety prioritized

The government earlier said that part of its priority was the safety of over 100,000 Filipinos who live or work in Taiwan.

The Batanes archipelago, the country’s northernmost island province which has six municipalities and a population of 18,000, sits less than 150 kilometers from its nearest point to the south of Taiwan. In April, the military briefed local officials about its preparations for the province in case of a China-Taiwan conflict.

There are concerns that Beijing may soon invade Taipei and the Philippines can get caught in the crossfire or become involved as a party of a US-led alliance.

Washington and Beijing have sought to manage their differences lately to get strained ties on the right track, including keeping communication channels open.

National interests in mind

The Philippines had granted the United States, its treaty ally, four additional bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement in April, with three facing toward Taiwan. But President Marcos had said the new bases were not intended for any “offensive action” against any country and that they would be used only “to help the Philippines when it needs help.”

Teodoro, on the other hand, said he believes former President Rodrigo Duterte had the country’s national interests in mind when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week in Beijing.


In the meeting, Xi told Duterte to continue to promote cooperation between their countries, as his successor sought closer ties with Washington. There was no information about whether Xi and Duterte discussed incidents of harassment and incursions in the West Philippine Sea.

“We need to know first what they discussed if it is a cause of concern but we expect that as a former President of the Philippines, he put forward the country’s national interests,” Teodoro said.

According to the defense secretary, he supports “all efforts” to engage with China, including Track II diplomacy or unofficial exchanges.

—With a report from Reuters


Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Taiwanese civilians brace for China invasion, too 

TAGS: China, Defense, invasion, Taiwan

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.