The Philippines increases its military presence on islands near Taiwan.  Beijing warning: 'Don't play with fire'

The announcement was enough to raise diplomatic tension between the Philippines and China, after the provocations witnessed in recent months in the South China Sea, which the two governments are disputed. On February 7, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro announced Manila's intention to increase its military presence in the Bataan Islands, the northernmost province. […]

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The announcement was enough to bring him back Diplomatic tension between Filipino And ChinaThis is after the provocations witnessed in recent months in the South China Sea, which were disputed between the two governments. On February 7, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro announced Manila's intention to increase the military presence in the country. Batan Islands, the far north of the country, to enhance its defensive capabilities. But those islands are less than two hundred kilometers away TaiwanIsland nation that claims independence from China: Even if no new bases are built in the province at the moment, Beijing can hardly fail to see the move as a hostile act. In fact, the reaction was immediate: Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin ordered Manila to “Don't play with fireHe warned that Taiwan represents “an issue of fundamental and primary importance.” A red line that must not be crossedHoping for a “clear understanding of the other party.”

The friction between the two countries is not new, but in recent months it has taken a more extreme tone. One of them dates back to last December Collision Between Coast Guard vehicles, amid mutual accusations of violating territorial waters. On that occasion, the Philippines summoned the Chinese ambassador and accused Beijing – with video evidence – of using water cannons against its patrol boats. But a month ago, the people who disturbed Dragon Diplomacy were… Joint naval patrols Manila and the United States of America at the northernmost border of Philippine waters: an issue believed to have been the cause of a new escalation of tension, and the most at risk of escalation in recent years. Last August, on guardianAnalyst Bill Hayton has asserted that the combination of Chinese expansionist ambitions and growing cooperation between the Philippines and the United States creates “ Action-reaction cycle “Increasingly dangerous.”

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During 2023 Military cooperation Relations between the United States and the Philippines — the main anti-China ally in the region, along with Japan — have increased significantly. The number of Philippine bases — some close to Taiwan — that Washington has access to has nearly doubled. In addition, in April, more than 17,000 Filipino and American soldiers participated in the largest joint exercise ever, which was held in the northern region of the country, the same region in which Manila now wants to strengthen its military presence. On the other hand, the territory of the Bataan Islands has high strategic value, and the interest of the United States in this region is a reality: the United States is in open negotiations with the Philippine government to build an island. Civil portWhich would significantly increase US access to the islands surrounding Taiwan.

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