The United States has said that it is happy with improving bilateral relations between China and the Philippines, whose relations soured over the South China Sea dispute, adding that in no way this development is a threat. US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said at a press briefing, “We also welcome improved relations between China and the Philippines. If that is, in fact, what President Duterte is seeking, that – we don’t see that as a threat, we don’t see that as unwelcome, we don’t see that as counterproductive. Actually quite the opposite; we think that improved relations between him and his neighbors, be that China or other countries, are all to the good, all to the good for stability in the region.”
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Yesterday an article in China’s Global Times said that Washington is unhappy with the growing reconciliation between China and the Philippines due to its urge to dominate the regional order.
It said that the US should welcome the change and encourage claimants to negotiate for win-win cooperation if it really cares about the benefits of regional countries adding that, however, the US seems to be unhappy and that it is widely believed that Washington is pressuring Manila to return to confrontation against Beijing.
During the briefing, Kirby added that Washington’s overseas footprint are driven by bilateral sovereign decisions and said that the US would want to continue a strong defense relationship with the Philippines, just because of the economic lifeblood of the region that – the amount of commerce that just simply flows through those waters.
“We would welcome a closer bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China. And I would have every expectation that such a bilateral discussion and relationship would include what’s going on in the South China Sea. That wouldn’t shock or surprise us one bit, but we – again, we welcome China and the Philippines being able to have a closer dialogue and discussion and, in fact, a closer relationship,” he said.