Marcos: WPS tensions ‘require’ US-PH partnership

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — President Ferdinand Marcos said the conflict in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is now “more dire,” which has prompted his administration to boost ties with more countries, especially the United States.

The chief executive said on Monday (Philippine time) that the Philippines’ “main” and “only treaty partner” is the US.

But Marcos said that his administration has been also beefing up its cooperation with neighboring countries, as he rejected anew the “old thinking” wherein a nation has to choose whether to side with the US or other military powerhouses.

“The increasing tensions in the West Philippine Sea require that we partner with our allies and our friends around the world to be able to come to some kind of resolution and maintain peace,” he said during The Daniel K. Inouye Speaker Series in Hawaii.

Marcos also said that the Philippines is increasing its capabilities to address security challenges involving “outside forces,” which now become “more often.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot report that the situation is improving. The situation has become more dire than it was before,” he said.

Just this month alone, China fired a water cannon anew to harass a Philippine vessel en route to a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal. China has sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“It is something, in our view, the more allies we find to speak up whenever such incursions occur, incident or events occur, the stronger the voice will be,” he said.

Earlier today, Marcos visited the US Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters, America’s oldest and largest combatant command, with more than 380,000 personnel.

He is set to return to the Philippines on Monday night from the US.