August 8, 2022

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Blinken Visits Philippines to Boost Alliance Amid China Tensions

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken will seek to bolster America’s alliance with the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a two-day visit to Manila as tensions between the US and China spike.

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(Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken will seek to bolster America’s alliance with the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a two-day visit to Manila as tensions between the US and China spike.

Blinken will pitch for stronger ties with the Southeast Asian nation on pandemic recovery, energy, trade and investments when he meets the newly elected president on Saturday, according to a State Department statement. He’s the first cabinet-level US official to visit the new Philippine leader, who assumed power in late June.

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His arrival comes as China seeks to warm ties with the Philippines — a former American colony and longtime treaty ally — after the Southeast Asian nation’s shaky relationship with the US in recent years. Relations between Washington and Manila soured under former President Rodrigo Duterte, who rejected American criticism of his human rights record and vowed an “independent foreign policy” including closer ties with Beijing.

While Marcos has said he wants to boost trade ties with the US instead of a “dependence” on aid, and signaled an openness to join an economic initiative pushed by President Joe Biden to counter Chinese influence, Beijing has made early efforts to shore up its gains in the Philippines. 

China sent Vice President Wang Qishan to Marcos’ inauguration, while the Biden administration was represented by Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff. 

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s met with Marcos last month and the two sides pledged to maintain a strong relationship. The…

Bloomberg News

2022-08-05 21:09:25

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