Vice President Kamala Harris has landed In the Philippines. She is Looking to shore up U.S. ties with the country.
The archipelago nation is located between the Philippine Sea in the east and the South China Sea in the west, sitting at the center of multiple territorial disputes and tensions between Washington and Beijing. The U.S. already maintains a military presence in and around the region, but with Harris’ visit, the U.S. is looking to expand that presence in the Philippines.
“An armed attack on the Philippines armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke the U.S. mutual defense commitment,” Harris said.
Filipino officials said the U.S. is seeking to construct military facilities in five more areas in the northern Philippines. Two of those areas are in the northern Cagayan Province, across from Taiwan.
The Associated Press reported these locations could serve as a crucial outpost in case tensions worsen between China and the self-governed island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
The plan came just a day after China’s coast guard forcibly seized Chinese rocket debris that Filipino navy personnel found and were towing back to land. China claimed it did so cordially. The Philippines said that’s not what happened, demonstrating growing tensions in the South China Sea.
The Philippines is a former U.S. colony and one of America’s oldest allies in the region. This visit makes the vice president the highest-ranking Biden official to visit the country.
MAHMOUD BENNETT: VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS HAS LANDED IN THE PHILIPPINES. SHE’S LOOKING TO SHORE UP U.S. TIES WITH THE COUNTRY.
THE ARCHIPELAGO NATION IS LOCATED HERE BETWEEN THE PHILIPPINE SEA IN THE EAST AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE SOUTH CHINA SEA IN THE WEST, WHICH IS AT THE CENTER OF MULTIPLE TERRITORIAL DISPUTES, IT’S ALSO VIEWED AS THE COLLISION COURSE BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND BEIJING.
THE U.S. ALREADY MAINTAINS A MILITARY PRESENCE IN AND AROUND THE REGION, BUT WITH THIS RECENT VISIT, THE U.S. IS LOOKING TO EXPAND THAT PRESENCE IN THE PHILIPPINES.
KAMALA HARRIS: “AN ARMED ATTACK ON THE PHILIPPINES ARMED FORCES, PUBLIC VESSELS, OR AIRCRAFT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA WOULD INVOKE U.S. MUTUAL DEFENSE COMMITMENT.”
BENNETT: FILIPINO OFFICIALS SAY THE U.S. IS SEEKING TO CONSTRUCT MILITARY FACILITIES IN FIVE MORE AREAS IN THE NORTHERN PHILIPPINES. TWO OF THOSE BEING IN THE NORTHERN CAGAYAN PROVINCE RIGHT ACROSS FROM TAIWAN.
THE AP REPORTS THIS COULD SERVE AS A CRUCIAL OUTPOST IN CASE TENSIONS WORSEN BETWEEN CHINA AND THE SELF GOVERNED ISLAND OF TAIWAN, WHICH CHINA CLAIMS AS THEIR OWN.
THE PLAN COMES JUST A DAY AFTER CHINA’S COAST GUARD FORCIBLY SEIZED CHINESE ROCKET DEBRIS THAT FILIPINO NAVY PERSONNEL FOUND AND WERE TOWING BACK TO LAND. CHINA CLAIMS THEY DID IT CORDIALLY, THE PHILIPPINES SAYS THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED. IT ALL DEMONSTRATES GROWING TENSIONS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA.
THE PHILIPPINES IS A FORMER U.S. COLONY AND ONE OF AMERICA’S OLDEST ALLIES IN THE REGION. THIS VISIT MAKES THE VICE PRESIDENT THE HIGHEST RANKING BIDEN OFFICIAL TO VISIT THE COUNTRY.