BEIJING expressed hope that Manila will not fall prey or be taken advantaged of and be “dragged into troubled waters,” as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., and top defense officials met with US Defense Secretary Llyod Austin.
The statement was issued by the Chinese embassy in Manila, after a joint statement was issued by the Philippines and the US where they both reaffirmed their commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.
Austin met with his Philippine counterpart Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. in Camp Aguinaldo.
Galvez and Austin held a joint press conference where they both admitted that their actions were important as, “China continues to advance their illegitimate claims in the West Philippines Sea.”
But the Chinese embassy claimed that Austin merely “smeared” China with regards to the issue of the South China Sea “to advance the anti-China political agenda of the US.”
“Such moves contradict the common aspiration of regional countries to seek peace, cooperation and development, and run counter to the common aspiration of the Filipino people to pursue sound economic recovery and a better life in cooperation with China,” the embassy said in their statement.
“It is hoped that the Philippine side stays vigilant and resists from being taken advantage of and dragged into trouble waters,” they added.
It remarked that the “defense and security cooperation” between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability and that any defense cooperation must “not target against any third party, even less to harm the interests of a third party.”
“The United States, out of its self-interest and zero-sum game mentality, continues to step up military posture in this region. Its actions escalate regional tension and undermine regional peace and stability,” the embassy claimed.
The Department of National Defense had announced that they agreed with the US for the designation of four new locations for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement during Austin’s visit, bringing the total to 9. The locations were not disclosed.
Aside from meeting with Galvez, Austin also met with President Marcos.