China, now surrounded by US allies and RP's friends

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

With India now on the side of the Philippines, in addition to the US, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand, China is losing its strategic superiority in the West Philippine Sea and in the entire Asia Pacific Basin. Beijing is becoming more and more isolated and is also losing in the propaganda war as Manila continues to gain the sympathy and support of the West, including the European Union and the members of NATO.

Last week, the global media giant, Reuters, reported that RP's strategic move to strengthen ties with America and Japan in the recent summit in Washington DC was a "sovereign choice" with far-reaching implications and consequences. US President Joe Biden assured President BBM that America's commitment to support the Philippines is nothing less than "ironclad". BBM's historic meeting with the American president together with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and the active participation of the US state department, the Pentagon and other relevant agencies has shown to the whole world that in the event of escalation of the tensions in this region, China will face multiple enemies from all fronts.

In a formal press release, Tokyo declared that the Government of Japan believes that the issue with regard to the South China Sea is directly intertwined with the peace and stability of the region and should be the common concern of the entire international community, considering that the current tensions are affecting the international maritime order. Japan called upon China to act on the basis of the rule of law for the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. Explicitly, the Government of Japan declared that it is supporting the Philippines' use of legal procedures under the UNCLOS or United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas. In the event of armed conflict, Japan will be on the side of the US and the Philippines.

Following American initiatives, the Korean Foundation held a conference under the auspices of the East West Center in Washington, and it was reported that the US, South Korea and the Philippines are pursuing increased trilateral security cooperation as a strategic response to the escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea. This alliance is bolstered by the growing ties between Manila and Seoul and South Korea''s foreign policy of commitment beyond peninsular affairs to encompass the entire region. With South Korea on the side of the Philippines, there is assurance of more cover for our country's northern front, aside from Japan and Taiwan.

Unlike the administration of former president Duterte, the BBM government has strengthened the diplomatic ties, the political alliance and the military cooperation between Manila and Canberra. Australia now is actively participating in our joint military exercises and China is worried about being increasingly isolated in this region. It is commonly known that Australia's defense and security partnership with the Philippines is becoming more and more robust. Our common ties are anchored on historic friendship dating back to 1922. And our current bilateral engagements are spanning major global and regional events, including the Second World War. Australia helped a lot in the liberation of the Philippines.

Last week, New Zealand's Prime Minister Christopher Luxon paid a visit to Malacanang and met with President BBM. Both leaders expressed their deep concern on the increasing aggressiveness of China in disturbing the peace and stability of the region. The two leaders confirmed their current efforts to deepen their defense and security cooperation in the region. They expressed their deep concerns that China is illegally claiming almost the entire South China sea which is the only maritime passage of no less than three trillion US dollars worth of shipments of goods. China's unjust claims are adverse not just to the Philippines but also to Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

With India supplying advanced ammunition and modern arms to the Philippines, China should be forewarned that its unabated greed and covetousness will not remain uncontested as its enemies are multiplying every day. Xi Jin Ping should ponder on why Beijing is losing more friends and gaining more and more enemies.

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