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US Vice President Harris Visits Philippines To Reset Relations

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Vice President Harris Visits Philippines To Reset Relations

(CTN NEWS) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris landed in the Philippines on Sunday for discussions aimed at rekindling ties with the former colony, an Asian ally that is crucial to U.S. efforts to offset China’s increasingly assertive policies towards Taiwan.

As the Biden administration works to strengthen ties with allies concerned about China’s growing influence in Southeast Asia and potential confrontation over Taiwan, the self-governing island China claims as its own.

Harris, who will meet President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., travels to the area.

An essential component of this diplomatic effort is the Philippines. Military analysts believe that having military access to the nation.

Which is only 120 miles (193 km) from Taiwan and bordering the South China Sea, would make it much more difficult for China to invade Taiwan.

According to administration insiders, President Joe Biden and his national security advisers see a strategic and powerful friend in Marcos.

The son and namesake of the former dictator of the Philippines, for their biggest foreign policy challenge—competition with China.

Daniel Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia under former President Barack Obama and currently with the Asia Society, stated,

“It makes sense to invest high-level attention to restore deepened cooperation across the board with this youthful, populous, thriving, and strategically positioned friend.”

Earlier, Harris said that she had conveyed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom she had seen on Saturday at the APEC conference in Thailand, that Washington did not desire to engage in conflict with China.

Before leaving for Manila, Harris told a news conference in Bangkok, “We embrace competition, but we do not see conflict, we do not seek confrontation.

Her visit will be the highest-level visit to the Philippines by a government official and will signal a significant improvement in ties.

Vice President Harris Visits Philippines To Reset Relations

With his strongman style, apparent closeness to Beijing, and bellicose demeanor—which includes appearing to call Obama “son of a bitch”—Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte angered Washington.

The Biden administration is trying a reset now that Marcos is in office.

A person with knowledge of the call said that Biden called Marcos the evening after his victory was declared to offer congratulations while generally avoiding contentious topics.

According to a U.S. official, Biden also sent Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, to Marcos’ June inauguration with a personal, signed letter in which he expressed his desire to welcome Marcos to the country.

The leaders are anticipated to talk about Taiwan and the South China Sea as well as compare notes on Marcos’ and Biden’s meetings with Xi on Thursday and Monday, respectively.

Jose Manuel Romualdez, Manila’s ambassador to Washington, remarked, “The U.S. is not taking us for granted.” “Of course, Marcos is responding to this in a way that demonstrates to the United States that we are your allies.”

ASSISTANCE FINDING IN SOUTHWEST ASIA

Building a coalition in Asia to prevent Chinese aggression against Taiwan presents difficulties for the United States.

Many nations in the area are wary of provoking their massive neighbour, which is not just a military power but also a significant trade partner and investor.

While the militaries and economy of Japan and South Korea are intertwined with Washington, there is more criticism of Washington’s China approach among Southeast Asia’s various voices.

The Biden administration has responded by taking a number of measures, including inviting ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time ever in May.

Vice President Harris Visits Philippines To Reset Relations

And requesting $800 million in funding for the region through 2023 from Congress.

Biden has travelled there himself, stopping in Cambodia and Indonesia.

Tuesday, when Harris meets with Philippine coast guard personnel at a city on an island in the province of Palawan, which is bordered by the South China Sea, she will deliver a sharp symbolic message to China.

Beijing asserts ownership of a portion of the sea off Palawan, which is thought to be home to significant oil and gas reserves.

Vice President Harris Visits Philippines To Reset Relations

Washington has committed no backing for any U.S. engagement in a battle over Taiwan, but it is investing millions to help the Philippine military become more modern.

In September, Romualdez stated that the Philippines would only provide aid “if it is important for us, for our own security.”

Randall Schriver, a former assistant secretary of defence for the United States, stated that “any overt campaign preparation against China, planning for Taiwan, is still highly sensitive.” “All of it needs to be properly negotiated.”

There is no reason for China to be concerned about Harris‘ visit, according to Arsenio Andolong, spokesman for the Philippine military department.

Andolong declared, “We won’t be engaging with her while she’s here.” “Therefore, none of our neighbours should feel endangered,” said the speaker.

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