Skip to content

US Out of the Philippines! US Out of Asia Pacific!

BAYAN USA Analysis Statement on the Biden-Marcos-Kishida Trilateral Summit

This week, Biden hosted Philippine President Bong Bong Marcos Jr. and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the Trilateral Summit supposedly to “bolster economic and defense ties” between the three countries. This meeting must be put in the context of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, the US’ proxy war strategy to encircle and isolate China. Between both Japan and the Philippines, the US can form a geopolitically strategic ‘pincer’ that places Taiwan in the middle of both countries. 

Biden asserts that the deepening of military and economic alliances in the Asia Pacific is “to build an Indo-Pacific that is free, open, prosperous and secure for all.” As Filipinos and peace-loving people, we see through the veil of lies. We know that these maneuvers will only benefit US imperialism and its ruling class partners in Japan and the Philippines at the expense of oppressed and working class people in the Philippines and throughout the Asia Pacific. 

In the meeting, major topics included: technology and clean energy, defense and security, investment and infrastructure. Let us closely study the actual implications of these discussions.

On Technology and Clean Energy 

Marcos said he intends to explore ways of advancing cooperation, especially in the areas of critical infrastructure, semiconductors, digitalization and cybersecurity, among others. This focus on tech is in continuation of the US’ mission to “halt the Chinese government’s development of advanced technologies,” especially China’s $190-billion chip industry. Last year, a range of export controls were put in place to curtail China’s ability to obtain some of the world’s most cutting-edge microchips that can produce supercomputer technology as part of its AI weapons efforts. These advanced AI algorithms could rapidly sift through data to inform battlefield decisions under compressed time frames. 

Through building political alliances, the United States is desperately trying to beat China’s weapons technology development and advance its ability to wage hybrid war, which involves maximum use of Artificial Intelligence, space exploration and state-of-the art naval and air military technology, including a network system of air missile and defense architecture. 

Recently, Jose Romualdez announced a free trade agreement with the US on cyberspace and digital tech. The Marcos administration is also eyeing similar trade ties with Japan. Electronic products are one of the Philippines’ top exports and US imperialism is looking to “double its semiconductor assembly facilities” in the Philippines, placing the Philippines in the middle of the deadly US-China Chip Wars.

In the field of “clean energy,” Marcos also continued to court Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) to secure nuclear energy reactors, despite no thorough studies on the viability of such technology in the Philippines. Moreover, the Philippines has no uranium mines, nor a way to safely dispose of nuclear waste, meaning that the country will be dependent on uranium imports and on the US for fuel and reactor maintenance.

On Defense & Security Cooperation

A huge portion of the Trilateral Summit focused on plans for strengthened military cooperation between the U.S., Philippines, and Japan to counter the “growing threat from China in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, and to deter any attempt to seize Taiwan.” What this really means is that the Philippine archipelago is being served up to two of its colonizers on a silver platter, serving a central role in the “US Island Chain strategy” to contain China given its strategic location. 

No where is this more obvious than in the ramping up of U.S. military base building under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). During the summit, Biden revealed his budget request for $128 million for EDCA infrastructure projects — more than the $109 million allocated by the U.S. in the last 10 years combined. And while the U.S. claims that such EDCA sites will aid in “humanitarian assistance and disaster response capacity,” even a quick look at the map of EDCA locations shows that the bases are in strategic locations facing China.

This huge jump in aid is paired with the more than 500 already announced military exercises the U.S. and Philippines will engage in this year alone, including the large-scale Balikatan exercises set to begin this April 22. The exercise will include 11,000 American soldiers, more than double the 5,000 Filipino soldiers who will participate. After the summit, Japan is entering the fray even more, with trilateral coast guard exercises announced among the three countries to “advance maritime security and safety.” While BAYAN USA denounces all attempts by China to encroach on Philippine sovereignty and harm Filipinos at sea, we will not stand for our waters to be militarized by any foreign power, most especially the U.S., whose military has had a much longer track record of violence against the Filipino people.

The day following the summit, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, and National Security Advisor Sullivan met with their Philippine counterparts: Foreign Affairs Secretary Manalo, National Defense Secretary Teodoro, and National Security Advisor Año. Año has previously stated that the Marcos regime’s goal is to “shift its focus to external defense after slashing the strength of communist rebels in the Philippines.” The Department of Foreign Affairs via its embassy and consulates in the U.S. have also actively engaged in surveillance and red-tagging of activists here. 

We must therefore view such a meeting not only in the context of positioning the Philippines against China, but also in the context of advancing the Philippine government’s “whole of nation approach” against the revolutionary people’s movement in the Philippines, which is indiscriminate in its attacks on legal activists alike. U.S.-backed war in the Philippines is also war on the Filipino people themselves.

On Infrastructure and Investment 

The White House announced strides in promoting “inclusive economic growth” with the Philippines and the United States, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). At the Trilateral Summit, the nations announced the PGI (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) Luzon Corridor, “an important set of new infrastructure projects” and the first-ever economic corridor of its kind that would connect Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas. The Luzon Corridor is meant “to accelerate coordinated investments in high-impact infrastructure projects, including ports, rail, clean energy, semiconductors, supply chains, and other forms of connectivity in the Philippines.” 

However, infrastructure projects in the Third World are often meant to advance imperialist ambitions by more efficiently resourcing war and militarism. The PGI Luzon Corridor practically turns the country’s biggest island into an EDCA site, enhancing its ability to service thousands of foreign troops at any given time. The Luzon Corridor is purported to be an economic zone but it is linked to the installation of EDCA sites and the repurposing of Subic and Clark into military hubs for joint exercises with foreign troops. Case in point: Luzon has four EDCA sites, Balikatan exercises are done in several provinces of the island, and Subic and Clark are former US military bases in Luzon. The unveiling of Luzon Corridor during the trilateral summit signals the intensified foreign military buildup in the island. 

The US government is pulling out all the stops to mobilize the private sector to invest in the Philippines, supposedly for the people’s benefit. Last month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo led a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) to Manila. This Mission included 22 U.S. companies like Google, Microsoft, Visa, UPS and Mastercard that made more than $1 billion in combined investments to “promote the Philippines’ innovation economy, clean energy transition, and supply chain resilience.”

Building economic ties to build the “prosperity and interconnectedness in the Indo-Pacific” may sound beneficial but a further look proves otherwise. Even seemingly benign efforts to improve “digital connectivity” in the Philippines is actually a loaded matter of geopolitical maneuvering against China. The White House memo included Meta’s announcement of its investment in the Pacific Light Cable Network international submarine cable system to support the Philippine government’s new National Fiber Backbone Phase 1. The latter is estimated to become one of the longest direct cable systems in the world, “strengthening the digital connection between the United States and the Philippines.” This announcement must be contextualized in Washington’s ongoing efforts to block China from international subsea cable projects. This “Cold War under the sea” is an example of the depth and breadth of the inter-imperialist rivalry between the U.S. and China. Paranoid of Chinese espionage and desperate to cling to its global hegemony, the U.S. cannot even bear to share the Internet with China. 

Stronger Internet ties to the Philippines also mean further ability to exploit the Filipino people for private profit, especially through the Business Process Outsourcing industry. It will only become easier for businesses to hire remote workers like the viral Zoom cashiers from the Philippines.

The People Fight Back

The outcomes of the Trilateral Summit clearly lay out the inseparability of the economic, political, and military schemes of U.S. imperialism. No longer the sole imperialist superpower in the world, the U.S. is forging economic and military deals with its allies in the Asia Pacific, namely Japan and the Philippines, as part of its strategy to isolate its competitor China. At the same time, the United States has no choice but to continue relations with its rival given China’s economic significance.

In the midst of all this, Marcos Jr. proves himself as a loyal lapdog to U.S. imperialism. While Filipinos live in worsening poverty and deepening economic crisis, Marcos outdoes himself in his readiness to drag the Filipino people into an imperialist war of aggression that will do nothing to help them. Marcos Jr. must be held accountable for his reprehensible sell-out of Philippine sovereignty and his blatant disregard for the lives of the Filipino masses.

From D.C to Chicago to Los Angeles, the Trilateral Summit was met with protests as part of a nationally coordinated day of action led by BAYAN USA. Filipinos across the U.S., alongside their compatriots in the Philippines and around the globe oppose war and militarism in the Asia Pacific. We will not tolerate the Philippines being played as a pawn in the twisted chess game of domination between U.S. and China imperialism.

We will not feed our people and resources to the blood thirst of the U.S. war machine. We will assert the right to determine our destiny as a nation. As Filipinos and peace-loving people, let us unite and fight for sovereignty and self-determination!

Atin ang Pinas! U.S. Out of the Philippines and the Asia Pacific! 
Uphold national sovereignty against all imperialist encroachment!

We invite all to participate in BAYAN USA’s National “U.S. Out of the Philippines!” Month of Action, including the following:

  • April 17: Anti-Militarism Teach-in to discuss the history and current situation of U.S. militarism in the Philippines (
  • April 28: Actions across the country to protest the 10th anniversary of EDCA, which allowed for the expansion of U.S. military presence within Philippine bases.
  • Ongoing: Donate to sustain our anti-imperialist campaign efforts here: (note: General Operations)