Marcos rules out reopening Subic, Clark US bases

ZURICH, Switzerland – The Philippines is increasing its cooperation with the United States while trying to defuse tension with China amid the intense geopolitical rivalry in the Asia-Pacific region.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued this statement in an interview by Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Marcos said the country is trying hard not to be “trampled” by the two superpowers.

He cited an African proverb that when elephants fight, the only one that gets hurt is the grass.

“We are the grass in this situation. We don’t want to get trampled,” the chief executive pointed out.

Earlier, Marcos said he’s worried about the tension between China and Taiwan,  with 150,000 Filipinos living in the latter.

He pointed out that the southern port city of Kaohsiung is just 40 minutes away from the northernmost island of Batanes.

The Philippines is in a territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, with the Asian giant claiming it almost in its entirety.

During his visit to China, the President  proposed to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the bilateral team looking into incidents in the WPS to be upgraded with senior officials onboard with direct access to him and Xi.

In a separate interview with the Financial Times,  Marcos confirmed he expected intensified military relations with the US, with more US troops and military assets rotating through the Philippines.

The Filipino leader also said the discussion about defense cooperation with Japan is continuing and that his government is trying to put together Australia, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.

He ruled out, however, the reopening of the former US military bases in Clark and Subic, saying it is against the country’s Constitution to allow foreign bases on its soil.

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