Philippines says decision to strengthen ties with Japan, US a ‘sovereign choice’

MANILA : The Philippines’ decision to ramp up ties with Japan and the United States is a “sovereign choice”, its foreign ministry said on Thursday (Apr 18), urging China to “reflect upon its own actions” in the South China Sea.

“The source of tension in our region is well known to all,” the foreign affairs department said in a statement.

“It is China’s excessive maritime claims and aggressive behaviour, including its militarisation of reclaimed features, that are undermining regional peace and stability and raising tensions,” it added.

The statement was in response to China’s criticism over the recent trilateral summit between US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The three leaders have jointly expressed serious concerns about China’s “dangerous and aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea”.

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