US reveals military nature of trilateral summit; NDFP denounces BBM’s sellout of PH sovereignty

United States President Joe Biden revealed plans for a more aggressive military presence in the Indo-Pacific region at the start of the US-Japan-Philippine trilateral summit in Washington DC, seen as a warning to Beijing that it will not surrender its dominance in the area.

Launching the summit at the White House on Thursday, April 11, Biden said the Cold War-era Mutual Defense Treaty between Washington and Manila requires the US to respond to an armed attack on the Philippines in the South China Sea.

 “United States defense commitments to Japan and to the Philippines are iron clad,” he said.

The agreement “extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft—to include those of its Coast Guard— in the Pacific, including anywhere in the South China Sea,” a White House readout reads.

Biden is hosting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in a first-of-its-kind summit between Manila and two of its former invaders.

Beijing on the other hand said the meeting is an interventionist attempt by the US to escalate tensions in the region as it maintains its claims over an inordinate expanse of the South China Sea.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, even those that fall on the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). China ratified the convention a month later on December 1982.

China however refuses to honor the 2016 international arbitral ruling rejecting its claims and have since attacked Southeast Asian fishing boats and coast guards in the region.

Marcos selling out PH sovereignty

The international office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP International) meanwhile called Marcos Jr.’s participation in the summit “an utter and complete sell-out of Philippine sovereignty to US war designs in Asia.”

“Marcos Jr. is willingly offering the Philippine archipelago to serve as a ‘theater of war’ by allowing the US to position its military arsenal on land, sea, and air. The Philippines is a crucial piece in the ‘US Island Chain strategy’ to contain China,” NDFP International said.

Also scornful of China’s aggression against Filipino fisherfolk and ships as well as occupation of land features within the Philippine EEZ, NDFP International added that Marcos Jr. is allowing US to constrict regional waterways and position readily deployable military air power in close proximity to China.

“In order to achieve its objectives, the US is escalating war preparations in the region by encouraging Japan and other imperialist allies to join the geopolitical chess game,” the group said.

NDFP International also said that the forthcoming Balikatan Exercises later this month shall be the biggest in history with at least 16,000 troops.

“The Balikatan war games this year aims to test the so-called ‘Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CDAC)’ patterned after US imperialist war plans in the region. These actions form part of the US strategy to provoke China into ‘firing the first shot’ demonstrating the US government’s bloodthirst,” it said.

Marcos Jr.’s actions prove his outright subservience to US imperialist war preparations and his readiness to drag the Filipino people in the middle of a brewing inter-imperialist conflict. Marcos Jr. must be held accountable for his reprehensible sell-out of Philippine sovereignty and his blatant disregard for the lives of the Filipino masses, the group said.

NDFP International also said it denounces Biden for his government’s continued exportation of wars of aggression from Ukraine to Palestine and now using the Philippines as a pawn against China. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)