President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. underscored the importance and evolution of the relationship between the United States (US) and the Philippines amid the tensions brought about by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the Asian region, particularly to Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
The Philippines was caught between the rising conflict between the US and China after Pelosi reportedly used the country’s international airport to transit to Taiwan earlier this week.
Marcos, however, noted that Pelosi’s visit to Asia, which included Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, did not raise the intensity of the conflict, but proved how it had always been present in the region.
“The visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, coming here, really just . . . I do not think, to be perfectly candid, I did not think it raised the intensity, it just demonstrated it — how the intensity of that conflict has been. It actually has been at that level for a good while, but we got used to it and put it aside,” he said during his meeting with US State Secretary Antony Blinken in Malacañang.
“Nonetheless, this just demonstrates how volatile the international diplomatic scene is, not only in the region,” he added.
On this note, the Chief Executive highlighted the importance of the relationship between the United States and the Philippines.
“I hope that we will continue to evolve that relationship in the face of all the changes we have been seeing and the changes that are between in our bilateral relationship with the United States,” Marcos said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already denied that a request from the U.S had been made for Pelosi, who is a long-time critic of China, to either visit Manila or transit via its hub.
However, foreign media reports noted that flight tracking site Flightradar24 tracked the US Air Force jet that carried Pelosi to Malaysia close to southern Philippines after it left Kuala Lumpur en route to Taiwan.
The tracker saw the plane skirt West Philippine Sea, a route normally taken from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei, and flew along the Philippines’ Pacific east coast.
Pelosi’s visit to Taipei raised tensions further between Washington and Beijing as the latter considers Taiwan a renegade island and is not internationally recognized as a sovereign state.
The Philippines, on the other hand, follows the One China Policy.
During their meeting, Marcos also expressed hope for the “constant evolution” of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), which Blinken said the US is committed to uphold.
“We can no longer isolate one part of our relationship from the other. We are too closely tied because of the special relationship between the United States and the Philippines and the history that we share,” he said, noting the “assistance and help” Washington sent to the Philippines over the years.
“And they can no longer be categorized as one thing or another because they cover such a large scope,” Marcos added.
Marcos and Blinken met in Malacañang with Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, and other US embassy officials.