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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Philippine Ambassador: Trump Presidency Won’t Alter Indo-Pacific Strategy

The United States’ approach to the Indo-Pacific region is expected to remain consistent even if Donald Trump secures victory in the presidential race, according to insights shared by Jose Manuel Romualdez, the Philippines’ ambassador to Washington. Romualdez conveyed that a close adviser to Trump signaled continuity in the current regional stance during a recent communication.

The Situation in the South China Sea

Asserting the Philippines’ maritime claims remains a priority amidst escalating tensions in the South China Sea. Romualdez emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting the ongoing friction with Beijing over perceived territorial infringements by Philippine vessels.

Philippines’ Diplomatic Approach

Despite the prevailing tensions, Romualdez expressed optimism in resolving disputes through peaceful means. He underscored the importance of sustaining economic ties with China while navigating through diplomatic challenges.

Renewing Alliance Amidst Political Transitions

In anticipation of potential leadership changes in the United States, Romualdez views such shifts as opportunities to reinforce the enduring alliance between the Philippines and the U.S. The bilateral security engagements, especially under President Joe Biden and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., have intensified in response to China’s assertive maneuvers in the South China Sea and adjacent areas.

Security Measures and Mutual Defense Treaty

Under President Marcos, the Philippines has expanded the accessibility of its bases to U.S. forces, nearly doubling their number. The Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951 binds the two nations to mutual defense obligations, a commitment underscored by Marcos’ efforts to clarify the extent of security assurances from Washington.

Also Read: South Korea-US Annual Drills Addressing Nuclear Threats from North Korea

Prospects and Caution

Romualdez acknowledged the possibility of a significant incident in the South China Sea that might trigger the invocation of the Mutual Defense Treaty. However, he expressed hope that such scenarios could be avoided through diplomatic efforts.

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