China criticized the United States on Sunday for expanding the US military presence in the Philippines, claiming that Washington is trying to “encircle and contain” Beijing.
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines indicated that “the United States to ensure its hegemony and selfish geopolitical interests” continues its military deployment in that country.
“While the United States asserts that this cooperation is intended to assist the Philippines in disaster relief efforts (…), the truth is that these measures are part of the United States’ efforts to surround and contain China through its military alliance with this country,” Ambassador Huang Shilian explained.
Hence, he stated that engaging the Philippines in “geopolitical competition would seriously harm Philippine national interests and endanger regional peace and stability”.
For this reason, Huang considered that the US military “came from the other side of the Pacific Ocean to create problems in the South China Sea”, allying with its partners to “gain power” in the region.
At the beginning of February, the United States reported that it would have four new military bases in the Philippines, where it would be able to build facilities to store and supply equipment after both countries agreed to implement the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
This agreement came amid rising tensions in the region due to China’s pressure in the South China Sea. Specifically, the Philippines and China are embroiled in a territorial dispute over overlapping claims to the sea, in which Beijing has seized territories and built artificial islands with military-capable facilities.