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Sandwiched between two major powers

US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the Philippines tomorrow puts us in the center of international attention. In particular, her itinerary includes a high-profile trip to Palawan, near the Spratly Islands. Observers have already predicted that a visit to Palawan, which included a tour aboard a Philippine Coast Guard ship around the city of Puerto Princesa, could be interpreted as a “blame” by her northern neighbors. ”

But whatever it may be, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has consistently had a clear foreign policy from his first day in office striving, not in uncertain terms, to be “a friend of all.” We must remember that we have communicated to the international community that And the enemy is second to none,” he said, focusing on realigning relations with existing and new allies.

To be sure, we respect our oldest and only treaty ally, the United States, but we also want to work with others, including China, and this could mean a presidential official visit or bilateral meeting with another head of state. This has been made clear in inter-state talks. However, in July 2016, an arbitration court in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled in favor of the Philippines, quashing China’s historic territorial claims in the South China Sea. It is inevitable that there will be problems. The basis of the so-called nine-dash line.

At a meeting with the Asia Society in New York last September, the president made it clear that the Philippines’ position is “no territorial dispute with China.” Philippines. “

Nevertheless, the president is ultimately keen to work with China and other claimants in terms of “resolving issues involving the Western Philippine Sea through diplomacy and dialogue,” he said. rice field.

The President echoed this message at the recently concluded ASEAN Summit when he called for the early conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea. He also recommended to leaders the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), which outlines the universal principles of peaceful coexistence and cooperation, especially among the “parties” such as ASEAN member states and other member states. asked to follow. America, China, Japan, Russia.

Likewise, he stressed the possibility of the South China Sea becoming a “node of active economic engagement and interaction” and “not an epicenter of armed conflict or geopolitical operations.”

That said, a face-to-face meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, would be the right step to ease tensions between these giants. seen by many people. They pledged to do more to mend their “most hateful relationship in decades,” according to a New York Times article.

“None of it hid the vastly different views behind their disagreements over Taiwan’s future, military conflicts, technological restrictions, and China’s mass detention of its own people. So high, both Biden’s and Xi’s words represent a choice not to bet on unlimited conflict, but on personal diplomacy and more than a decade of contact being able to stave off a worsening conflict. I have..

“But neither leader came into the meeting expecting the other to concede on key points of disagreement. They said it should be left alone.

In a report written by Don McClane Gill and Joshua Bernard Espeña and published on geopoliticalmonitor.com, they argue that in the “overall balance of power” in which the United States and China compete for influence, the middle power He pointed out the “important role” that the Philippines, which is a in the Indo-Pacific. The country’s strategic location “could change the balance of power” between these two giant nations, and “could cause a significant shift in power in the greater Indo-Pacific region.” Therefore, it acts as a turning point in the rivalry.

One of the key factors is that the majority of Filipinos consider the United States to be the most reliable country and that President Marcos should claim our rights in the Western Philippine Sea. At the same time, they don’t want the Philippines to end up like ham in a sandwich.

As I have pointed out many times, as we have seen in the war in Ukraine, any conflict will only lead to death and destruction, and continued dialogue and diplomacy are the only solutions. Critics may say that all that has happened is chatter, but that is far better than engaging in war. The way forward is through continued dialogue and diplomacy, and we have always insisted that the Philippines is in a position to keep moving forward.

At the ASEAN summit, President Marcos stressed that the South China Sea should continue to be “a sea of ​​peace, security, stability and prosperity.”

And, as he articulated, world leaders need to remember that they have a “moral and legal obligation to strive to find solutions and not resort to inciting conflict.” there is.

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