US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his visit to the Philippines today. Blinken’s time in the archipelago is part
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his visit to the Philippines today.
Blinken’s time in the archipelago is part of a longer tour that includes Cambodia, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. In the Philippines, Blinken stressed support for ASEAN against what the US has called aggressive Chinese influence, reaffirming America’s commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. Blinken also emphasized cooperation with Manila on energy, trade, and investment.
Further attempts to counter Chinese influence in the South China Sea are likely, especially in the contested Spratly Islands where China has converted seven disputed reefs into military bases. Along with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan and increases in US military presence in the South China Sea, continued Sino-American competition is likely in the short-term. Supporting freedom of navigation laws will likely continue to be the US policy in the region. After his Southeast Asia visit, Blinken will head to Africa following Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s With the rise of Russian influence in Sub-Saharan Africa, Washington will continue to face a struggle for influence on the Southeast Asian and African fronts in the long-term.