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Philippines Edges Back into US Alliance as New Friend China Stirs Anger

The Philippines is edging further back into a once strained alliance with the United States as China, a friend of three years, keeps challenging Manila’s maritime claims and offers less aid than many Filipinos had hoped. Philippine-U.S. cooperation has picked up over the past two months with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Manila followed by a wide-reaching series of joint naval exercises. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines sidelined his country’s U.S. alliance after taking office in 2016 to seek peace with China. Since then China has alarmed Manila’s military as well as citizens by sending flotillas near a tiny Philippine-held island in a sea that they dispute and harassing Filipino fishermen near another islet. “Every time one of these incidents happens, he faces an enormous domestic backlash and a whole bunch of criticism that he’s being played for a fool by Beijing,” said Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. A swing back to the United States would position the Philippines where it was geopolitically before Duterte took office -- one in a chain of U.S. Western Pacific allies – and put China on the defensive against growing U.S. influence in Asia. Firmer US ties Pompeo visited March 1 to “reaffirm U.S. support for this critical treaty ally,” the State Department said. Pompeo said on the ground that his government would back the Philippines militarily if China attacked its vessels or planes in the South China Sea, domestic news outlet Rappler.com said. Coinciding with the visit, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin expressed opposition to reviewing the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States – a process that could overturn the 68-year-old document.  During annual joint military exercises April 1-12, the U.S. Navy sent... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Philippines Edges Back into US Alliance as New Friend China Stirs Anger, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you Philippines Edges Back into US Alliance as New Friend China Stirs Anger

 

 

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Published By: VOA NEWS - Monday, 15 April

 

 

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