Escalating tensions between Manila and Beijing over the South China Sea dispute.

Following a recent summit alongside President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington, Marcos has provided insights into potential scenarios involving the US, a treaty ally of the Philippines, amid escalating tensions between Manila and Beijing over the South China Sea dispute.

The recent clash in March saw two Chinese coast guard ships unleash water cannons on a Philippine vessel, resulting in injuries to three Filipino navy personnel and significant damage to the boat. China asserts extensive territorial claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Biden’s recent reaffirmation of defence commitments to Asian allies reflects concerns regarding China’s increasingly assertive behaviours. Since assuming office in 2022, Marcos has actively defended the Philippines’ claims in the contested waters while strengthening security ties with the US and Japan.

Under the 2014 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement, the US gained access to four additional Philippine sites last year, supplementing the initially designated five military bases. These new sites are strategically located near Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Marcos clarified on Monday that while the Philippines has no immediate plans to grant the US access to further bases, discussions are underway for a reciprocal access agreement with Japan, facilitating mutual military visits.

Moreover, Marcos aims to leverage the deepening defence relations with the US and its allies for broader economic advantages. One potential avenue being explored is oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, where US companies may be invited to participate.

Despite an agreement between the Philippines and China to resume joint exploration talks in January last year, differences persist regarding the governing laws for such projects. Marcos emphasized the importance of determining the applicable law, asserting that exploration within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone should be conducted by the Philippines. Meanwhile, exploration in non-conflict areas remains a possibility for the Philippines.



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One comment

  • Clive Bond April 16, 2024   Reply →

    Good to see Israel has that Iron Dome. You never know who will be next to attack them. Fortunately they have agreements with others.
    Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with two of its Arab neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, after signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. In 2020, Israel signed agreements establishing diplomatic relations with four Arab League countries, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.

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