Biden to Host President of Philippines Amid Tensions with China

May 1, 2023

President Biden was set to host Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the White House on Monday.

The meeting comes amid rising tensions with China, whose navy has been of late harassing Philippine vessels in the disputed South China Sea.

On Monday Biden and Marcos were set to agree on new guidelines for stronger military cooperation on virtually all fronts—land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

The Biden Administration will also transfer three C-130 aircrafts and send additional patrol vessels to the Philippines.

Further, Biden plans to reaffirm a 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty that calls for the United States to act in the event of an armed attack on the Philippine military. 

“The United States stands with our Philippine allies,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on February 14 after a Chinese Coast Guard ship allegedly hit a Philippine Coast Guard vessel with a military-grade laser, blinding some of the Filipino crew.

And last month the government of the Philippines identified four new military camps to be used by U.S. forces, including two across the South China Sea from Taiwan.

The Philippines is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia, and last month’s military camp agreement in part reverses U.S. troop withdrawal from its former colony more than 30 years ago. 

Biden and Marcos previously met in September, in New York. During that meeting, according to the White House, the leaders discussed “opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including energy security, climate action, and infrastructure” as well as the Ukraine-Russia War and human rights issues.

Monday’s meeting with Marcos was occurring less than a week after Biden welcomed South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and about 3-1/2 months after Biden welcomed Japan’s Prime Minister  Fumio Kishida to the White House.

The visits from the leaders come as they strengthen their military postures and U.S. works to strengthen its relationships with Indo-Pacific allies. Their aim is to counterbalance China’s rising influence along with threats from North Korea.

The Philippines’ Marcos is planning to spend four days in the U.S.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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