US to send military planes, ships to Philippines
United States President Joe Biden is expected to announce the shipment of military planes and ships to the Philippines to strengthen its armed forces and face the expansionist ambitions of Beijing in the South China Sea .
Biden would make the announcement during his meeting at the White House with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., senior US officials told reporters.
Specifically, the president would announce a series of actions to modernize the Philippine Armed Forces and improve its ability to conduct maritime exercises, an area in which China’s army is investing heavily.
Among other things, the president would announce the sale to the Philippines of military aircraft, ships and patrol vessels, such as the Cyclone, whose transfer was already approved in early April, a senior official said.
Cyclone ships were used during the Iraq War in 2003; But the US Navy has already removed them from its ports, so the last remaining units of these ships are being sold to countries such as the Philippines, Egypt and Bahrain.
In addition to the transfer of military materiel, Biden and Marcos Jr. would announce new defense agreements to enhance cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries at all levels, from air, sea, and land combat to cooperation in cybersecurity and space.
The meeting between the two leaders comes at a time of rising tension between Manila and Beijing.
On the one hand, the territorial conflict in the South China Sea has become more acute, and on Friday, the Philippines said some Chinese ships had blocked the path of some Philippine coast guards in that area, causing a near collision, something China denies.
Beijing opposes the new military agreement between the US and the Philippines announced on Apri. 3, by which American troops will have access to four new bases on Philippine soil. One of them is about 400 kilometers from Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing has not ruled out invading, and that Washington has promised to defend.
China has considered the deal a “provocation,” and China’s ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian, escalated the tension on Apr. 14, suggesting that the Philippines “should be concerned about the safety” of the more than 150,000 Filipinos living in Taiwan