Biden Pledges to Defend Philippines in South China Sea

Biden Pledges to Defend Philippines in South China Sea
Image copyright: Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images (May 2023)

The Facts

  • US Pres. Joe Biden on Thursday reasserted America's "ironclad" commitment to defending the Philippines in the South China Sea.

  • Under their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the US is bound to defend the Southeast Asian nation if Philippine forces, vessels, or aircraft ever come under an armed attack in the Pacific.

The Spin

Anti-China narrative

This trilateral summit has sent a clear message to China that it can't walk all over its neighbors. A growth in relations between the three countries is a strategic advantage, as well as a necessity to counter PRC meddling. With the help of two of the world's three largest economies, the Philippines can finally take a stand against continued Chinese aggression.

Pro-China narrative

Tricked by the fickle promises of a self-serving power that's seeking to use it as a vessel for American interests, the Philippines has decided to side with the US despite its historical ties to China. By following America's path, the Philippines has increased its chances of being placed in harm's way as part of the West's wider hegemonic game to undermine China's prosperity.

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