THE PHILIPPINE government’s aim of pursuing an independent foreign policy amid rising China-United States tensions would not be possible if it maintains bilateral treaties with the US, according to newly-formed think tank Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos. Jr. has said his administration’s goal is to be a friend to all and an enemy of none. Under this policy, the main consideration will be the interests and welfare of the Filipino people.
“What I wish to pursue is his statement that our ties with the Americans must evolve. But I wish to add — evolve into abrogation. All this talk about the Philippines having an independent foreign policy is a lot of horse pucky,” Asian Century Vice President for Internal Affairs Adolfo Q. Paglinawan said during the Pandesal Forum on Monday.
“With the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the 2016 Ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, our dice is loaded in favor of the United States and in the disfavor of our genuine national interests,” he added.
“They are swords hanging over the head of our national security. They are magnets for China’s Dong Feng missiles.”
Mr. Marcos, Jr. has said that he sought for the “constant evolution” of the MDT, which requires both sides to help each other in case of any external aggression. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also reaffirmed their commitment to the treaty.
“We can no longer isolate one part of our relationship from the other. We are too closely tied because of the special relationship between the United States and the Philippines and the history that we share,” Mr. Marcos said during the US official’s courtesy call at the Presidential Palace on Saturday.
“They can no longer be categorized as one thing or another because they cover such a large scope,” he added.
Asian Century Vice President for External Affairs Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy, however, said keeping such a relationship puts Manila at risk of being used as a pawn in the chess match between Washington and Beijing.
“Abrogating or revisiting or renegotiating the MDT, EDCA and the VFA is like a liberation for the Philippines from the indirect control and its subservience or the state of being submissive to the US, especially in military aspects,” she said.
Amid the rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, just north of the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said: “The Philippines adheres to the One-China policy.”
“The Philippines urges restraint by all parties concerned,” it added. “Diplomacy and dialogue must prevail.”
The One-China principle, recognized by 181 countries including the US, provides that there is only one sovereign state under the name China, with People’s Republic of China serving as its sole legitimate government, while naming Taiwan as a part of China. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan