Philippines and US Discuss Joint Security Operations in West Philippine Sea to Counter False Narratives

The Philippines and the US strengthen their security alliance to counter China's alleged manipulation of information in the West Philippine Sea, including joint operations and collaboration on cybersecurity measures.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Philippines and US Discuss Joint Security Operations in West Philippine Sea to Counter False Narratives

Philippines and US Discuss Joint Security Operations in West Philippine Sea to Counter False Narratives

The Philippines and the United States have committed to expanding their security alliance, including conducting joint security operations in the West Philippine Sea to counter false narratives about the disputed waters. During the 11th US-Philippine Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) in Washington D.C., senior government officials from both countries pledged to work together to address global and regional challenges, enhance operational cooperation and interoperability in the maritime domain, and accelerate capability development.

The two nations reiterated the importance of their security alliance and shared commitments under the Mutual Defense Treaty. They called on China to comply with international law and the 2016 arbitration ruling, and to cease its aggressive actions in the South China Sea, which have included interference with the Philippines' freedom of navigation.

Why this matters: The strengthening of the Philippines-US alliance aims to counter China's alleged manipulation of information to push its interests in the West Philippine Sea. The joint security operations and collaboration on cybersecurity measures seek to provide more accurate information and expose China's aggression in the disputed waters.

As part of their cooperation, the Philippines and the US will develop procedures and protocols for cooperative maritime law enforcement operations in the West Philippine Sea, potentially involving Australia and Japan. They also agreed to deepen collaboration on countering foreign information manipulation, particularly the "false narratives" being propagated by China against the Philippines.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presided over a meeting that tackled national security concerns, including China's activities in the West Philippine Sea, which are seen to "jeopardize" the peace and order of the country's borders. China has been harassing Filipino fishing vessels and resupply missions in areas within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The meeting also discussed the protracted wars and global issues that have "serious and harmful effects" on the country, particularly on the safety of overseas Filipinos and global oil prices. Additionally, the Justice Secretary directed the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate an "audio deepfake" that made it appear that President Marcos ordered the military to act against China, which the Presidential Communications Office said was manipulated and edited through artificial intelligence.

The Philippines and the US also agreed to continue discussions on other areas of cooperation, including concluding a bilateral security sector assistance roadmap, finalizing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), and expanding multilateral cooperation with like-minded countries. They committed to advancing the Luzon Economic Corridor and exploring opportunities for further cooperation on critical minerals processing, digital upskilling, and semiconductor supply chains.

"The Philippines and the United States agreed to collaborate in countering China's 'false narratives' on the West Philippine Sea. This was one of the key commitments made during the recently concluded 11th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue (BSD) held in Washington, D.C. from April 22 to April 23," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international maritime laws and advancing a free, safe, and open Indo-Pacific.

Key Takeaways

  • PH and US to expand security alliance, conduct joint ops in West PH Sea.
  • Aim to counter China's alleged manipulation of information in disputed waters.
  • Develop protocols for maritime law enforcement, counter foreign info manipulation.
  • Discuss national security concerns, including China's activities in West PH Sea.
  • Agree to continue discussions on security assistance, EDCA, and multilateral cooperation.