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The White House is concerned about China’s actions in the South China Sea, particularly in regards to tensions with the Philippines over Second Thomas Shoal. The Philippines grounded an old navy ship on the shoal in the 1990s to assert its claim, but China also claims the area as its sovereign territory, leading to clashes between the two countries. As a response to Chinese aggression, President Joe Biden is set to host a historic meeting with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines to show support and resolve against China’s actions.

The meeting between Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will address concerns about China’s aggressive posture in the region, specifically towards Taiwan and the South China Sea. Japan has been a key ally in the Indo-Pacific region, with Kishida shifting the country’s defense posture and increasing support to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion. The meeting aims to strengthen ties with the Philippines and demonstrate solidarity against Chinese aggression in the region.

Biden’s previous meeting with Marcos showed his commitment to reestablishing strong ties with the Philippines after relations had frayed under former President Rodrigo Duterte. The US and the Philippines have a longstanding mutual defense treaty, and Biden has pledged to support the Philippines military’s modernization goals. The meeting is expected to include announcements of infrastructure projects and increased military capability funding to bolster the Philippines amid tensions with China.

The White House is set to announce a new infrastructure project in the Philippines, including the development of a new rail and shipping corridor between Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base. This is meant to send a clear message to Beijing regarding US support for the Philippines. Additionally, there will be announcements on Open Radio Access Network technology and increased funding from the US and Japan for the Filipino military. Maritime military exercises with Australia near the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone were conducted to address Chinese harassment in the South China Sea.

In response to China’s actions in the region, the White House is making announcements to strengthen the Philippines’ infrastructure and military capabilities. The US, Japan, and Philippines will conduct Coast Guard patrols in the Indo-Pacific in the coming year to address security concerns. The meeting marks a significant effort by the Biden administration to address Chinese aggression in the region and support allies in the face of increasing tensions.

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