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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the Philippines since taking office, even though the meeting coincided with Washington The delicate moment with Beijing has quickly fallen to its lowest level in years.

The state-run television network did not live stream Blinken’s morning visit to the Manila presidential palace, which aired a local agricultural program and later covered the visit of the top U.S. diplomat in a brief news broadcast. Only a handful of Manila-based journalists were allowed to participate in group coverage of the event.

Photos later released by the president’s office showed Marcos Jr. shaking hands with Blinken as the two huddled to meet with their officials. Marcos Jr. mentioned his concerns about U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this week. Surprised by the transformation.

Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island has angered China, which claims Taiwan is its own territory and will annex it by force if necessary. China held military exercises off the coast of Taiwan on Thursday and cut ties with the U.S. on key issues including military issues and key climate cooperation on Friday as part of retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, despite China’s announcement Stern warning.

“I don’t think, frankly, I don’t think it increases the intensity, it just proves — how intense this conflict is,” Marcos Jr. said, according to a transcript released by the presidential palace.

“It just shows how volatile the international diplomatic situation is not only in the region,” he added.

Marcos Jr., who took office on June 30 after a landslide election victory, cited the important relationship between Manila and Washington as treaty allies, as well as U.S. aid to the Philippines over the years, without elaborating on his hope that “we will continue to Develop that relationship in the face of all the changes we’ve seen.”

Blinken reiterated to Marcos Washington Jr. his commitment to the mutual defense treaty signed with the Philippines in 1951 and to “join you to meet common challenges.”

“Our relationship is very unusual because it’s really built on friendship, it’s also built on partnership, and it’s strengthened because it’s an alliance.”

Blinken arrived in Manila on Friday night after attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ministerial meeting in Cambodia, which was also attended by Chinese and Russian counterparts. During the meeting, ASEAN foreign ministers called for “maximum restraint” as China conducts military exercises around Taiwan and retaliated against the United States, fearing that the situation “could destabilize the region and eventually lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflict and incompetence. Predicted Consequences”. Great country. “

After a brief meeting with Marcos, Blinken plans to meet via video link with Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. They will hold a brief online news conference asking reporters to focus only on Blinken’s visit to the Philippines.

Blinken will also visit a vaccination clinic in Manila, where he will meet with groups helping fight the coronavirus outbreak, before attending the Clean Energy Fair and meeting with U.S. embassy staff before flying out Saturday night.

Shortly before Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, there was speculation that her plane might make a brief stop to refuel at the former US Clark Air Force Base north of Manila, and Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said Beijing strongly opposed Pelosi’s then-unannounced plan to visit Taiwan. In a TV interview, he expressed the hope that the Philippine side will strictly abide by the one-China principle, handle all Taiwan-related issues prudently, and ensure the healthy and stable development of China-Philippines relations.

Huang’s remarks were harshly condemned by opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said: “The ambassador should not have a say in such policies, especially given his country’s stubborn and steadfast rejection. Recognize the decision made by the International Court of Arbitration and disregard and contempt the law of the International West Philippine Sea as long as it suits her interests.”

Hontiveros was referring to a 2016 arbitration award in a complaint against the Philippines that invalidated China’s extensive territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea. She called the disputed waters by the Philippine name.

China dismissed the ruling, which was welcomed by the United States and Western allies, as false and continued to flout it.


Associated Press reporter Andrew Harnick contributed to this story.

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