US vows to defend Philippines, Japan from Chinese attacks

President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has pledged to defend the Philippines from any attack in the South China Sea.

Biden hosted the first joint summit with Manila and Tokyo amid growing tensions with Beijing.

“The United States’ defence commitments to Japan and to the Philippines are ironclad,” the US president said on Thursday as he met the Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida.

The summit was held at the White House and it comes after repeated confrontations between Chinese and Philippine vessels in the disputed waterway that have raised fears of a wider conflict.

Biden’s pledge follows a bilateral meeting between Biden and Kishida and the upgrading of their alliance, which also drew strong condemnation from the Chinese government.

“Any attack on Philippine aircraft, vessels or armed forces in the South China Sea would invoke our mutual defense treaty,” said Biden.

The US president made a similar commitment when he hosted the Philippine president at the White House last year.

China claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, brushing aside competing claims from several south-east Asian nations including the Philippines.

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