International

China warns Philippines that military ties with US will ‘eventually backfire’ 

China has warned the Philippines that expanding military ties with the U.S. will “eventually backfire,” as Manila and Washington appear to grow their partnership with military drills and new American naval bases to be built in the archipelago.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that China is “gravely concerned over and strongly disapproves” of a joint statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. and Philippines after a meeting with top officials from both countries.

In the statement, among other things, the countries expressed “strong objections to the unlawful maritime claims, militarization of reclaimed features, and threatening and provocative activities in the South China Sea,” specifically highlighting recent actions by China.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and the adjacent waters. The joint statement of the US and the Philippines misrepresents and discredits the legitimate and lawful maritime law enforcement activities of the Chinese side and even makes false accusations against China. We strongly oppose this,” Wenbin said. 

Amid heightened tensions in the Indo-Pacific, American and Filipino forces on Tuesday kicked off their largest combat exercises in decades in and around the Philippines. And earlier this month, the U.S. Defense Department announced plans to open four new naval bases in the Philippines.

Three of those sites will be in the northeastern part of the nation, close to Taiwan in the South China Sea. 

Wenbin on Wednesday said of the new bases that “the intention behind those sites is more than obvious.”

“We would like to once again remind the relevant country in the region that pandering to forces outside the region will not bring greater security, but will cause tensions, put regional peace and stability at risk and eventually backfire,” Wenbin said.

China’s military in recent days has conducted military drills and simulated sealing off Taiwan, the democratically-governed island that Beijing claims is its own territory, after Taiwan’s president visited with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California earlier this month. 

Beijing has said it’s “ready to fight at all times” to “resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,” and has been vocal about its upset over U.S. support for Taiwan, despite America’s stance of strategic ambiguity.  

Tags China Kevin McCarthy Philippines South China Sea Taiwan U.S. Wang Wenbin Wang Wenbin

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