Marcos to sustain Philippines’ US ties, careful on China row

Marcos to sustain Philippines’ US ties, careful on China row

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr (centre, in red), Philippine presidential candidate and son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, gestures onstage to supporters during a campaign rally in Bocaue town, Bulacan province on Feb 8, 2022. (AFP photo)

Philippine presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said he will continue the nation’s alliance with the US, and will carefully tread the South China Sea dispute with Beijing.

Military deals between the US and the Philippines “are advantageous to both countries”, Marcos said at a virtual forum Wednesday. The alliance between the two nations is “a special relationship”, and the US “can do many things” to help the Philippines, he said.

Marcos, however, said he rejects the idea of aligning with just one country, and that the Philippines should carefully navigate its sea row with China. “You have to be friends to everyone. You don’t want to be enemies with anyone,” he said.

The Philippines’ relationship with the US went through challenges under President Rodrigo Duterte, who repeatedly threatened to end a key military deal with the US. In 2021, he decided to keep it. 

Marcos, who had a huge lead in last month’s presidential preference survey, also earlier said he wants a deal with China to resolve the sea dispute. His stance is similar to that of Duterte, who warmed ties with Beijing, while tapping Chinese funding for infrastructure projects. 

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