Marcos tells military to prepare for 'more worrisome' external threat

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Marcos tells military to prepare for 'more worrisome' external threat
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., together with members of the Philippine Army’s 5th ID, at Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela on June 10, 2024.
Presidential Communications Office

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes that the Philippines must brace for more significant and "more worrisome" external threats due to escalating tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Speaking to members of the Philippine Army on Monday, Marcos highlighted the country's strategic proximity to Taiwan, which makes the Philippines an "area of interest for China," he said in a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Office.

This situation, Marcos, requires the military to be ready to respond to any potential external threats.

“So, that is the mission that you have before you. Now, you have two missions, whereas before it was only internal security," Marcos said.

The president also said that the Philippines is not looking to expand its territory or redraw lines of sovereign territory, including the country's exclusive economic zone.

It's because of the "changing geopolitical landscape" and "emerging new threats" that made the Philippines decide to pprove the United States' establishment of an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) site in Cagayan, Marcos added.

In January, the Chinese government summoned the Philippine ambassador to warn the country "not to play with fire" after Marcos congratulated then-newly elected Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te.

China claims Taiwan as a part of its territory, asserting that it is a breakaway province that will eventually be reunified with the mainland. But several Taiwanese citizens and political leaders strongly oppose this assertion and advocate for Taiwan's continued self-governance and independence.

Escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait has been recognized as a "major concern" in the Philippines' five-year National Security Policy, saying that souring relations between China and Taiwan could be a "flashpoint in the region."

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