Blinken hails ‘strong’ US-Philippine alliance in talks with Marcos

MANILA – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr Saturday in a bid to bolster the countries’ “strong” alliance, as China conducts military drills around Taiwan. Blinken is the most senior US official to visit the Philippines — a treaty-bound ally of the United States — since Marcos took office.
“The alliance is strong and I believe can grow even stronger,” Blinken told Marcos at the presidential palace.
Marcos hailed the “special relationship” between the two countries. The United States has a security pact with the Philippines, and has backed the Southeast Asian nation in increasingly heated disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea.
Blinken’s meeting with Marcos came after China launched a series of military exercises around Taiwan that the United States has condemned.
On Saturday, the third day of the war games, Taiwan accused the Chinese military of simulating an attack on its main island as they deployed fighter jets and warships just 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the Philippines.
The drills came in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which prompted fury in China.
Marcos said Pelosi’s visit demonstrated the existing “intensity” of the conflict, rather than adding to tensions.

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