Marcos, Biden plan to discuss political, economic ties in Washington

BenarNews staff
Manila and Washington
Marcos, Biden plan to discuss political, economic ties in Washington Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) and U.S. President Joe Biden meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, Sept. 22, 2022.
Mandel Ngan/AFP

United States President Joe Biden is set to host his Philippine counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the White House on May 1 to discuss deepening political and economic ties, Washington and Manila said on Friday.

Marcos’s second visit to the U.S. since taking office in June comes as Washington is moving to strengthen its alliances in the Indo-Pacific region amid tensions with China over Taiwan.

In February, the Philippines gave the U.S. access to four new military bases, two of them fronting Taiwan, in a move that angered China.

Biden is expected to “reaffirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines, and the leaders will discuss efforts to strengthen the longstanding U.S.-Philippines alliance,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“The two leaders will also discuss regional matters and coordinate on efforts to uphold international law and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Marcos is scheduled to travel to Washington on April 30, and return home on May 4, said the Philippine presidential communications office.

The visit will “substantively progress efforts to further deepen relations and political ties, to bring about lasting socio-economic partnerships, as well as to enhance defense and security cooperation,” the office said in a news release.

Marcos is also expected to advance partnerships in agriculture, energy, climate change, digital transformation and technology, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supply chains and infrastructure.

The two leaders met in September 2022 in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, where they discussed similar issues.

Military exercises

Marcos’ visit this time, however, comes amid heightened U.S.-China tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

China has been unhappy with Manila for allowing the U.S. access to four additional military bases – the U.S. already has access to five.

China has said an expanded U.S. presence in the region amounted to interference, while some Filipino organizations staged protests against American militarization at a time when Beijing had already done the same in Philippine waters.

This week Marcos’ government slammed the Chinese ambassador to Manila over his recent statements criticizing the Philippines for granting the U.S. access to the bases facing Taiwan and for his comments on Filipino workers on the neighboring island.

The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) issued a statement saying it observed the One China Policy.

“Our primordial concern in Taiwan is the safety and well-being of the more than 150,000 Filipinos living and working on the island and we take grave exception to any effort by guests in our country to use this to fear-monger and intimidate us,” the DND said.

Since then, Marcos has downplayed the ambassador’s comments ahead of this weekend’s visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

Additionally, the Philippines and China have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, and Beijing has sent its ships into Manila’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Meanwhile, Marcos will be traveling to Washington just days after Philippine and U.S. troops wrap up the largest-ever Balikatan joint military exercises.


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