Philippines Plans To Construct New Islands Port Near Taiwan Without U.S. Assistance

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The US military will not be involved in developing a port in the remote northernmost islands of the Philippines, close to Taiwan, the local governor declared on Friday, eradicating possible friction with China regarding the presence of the US in the region.

The governor of the Batanes islands, less than 200 km from Taiwan, mentioned in August that she had sought funding from the US for a new port. At that time, the US embassy confirmed that the US Army Pacific (abbreviated USARPAC) specialists and diplomats were engaging the local authorities on support initiatives for the islands.

Initially, they said that they would help. Still, later on, they backed out, so she reached out for help from the PPA, stated Governor Marilou Cayco in a message to Reuters, referring to the Philippine Ports Authority (abbreviated as the PPA).

The task was to facilitate cargo unloading from Manila during poor weather and rough seas, especially during the monsoon, when the existing facility was inaccessible. On Friday, the US embassy said it could not comment immediately on the matter.

The US military’s involvement in the Batanes port might have stoked some tension at a time of increasing friction with China and an effort led by Washington to strengthen its long-standing defence engagements with the Philippines, which Beijing views with great suspicion.

The Bashi Channel, situated between Taiwan and the Batanes islands, is considered a choke point for vessels sailing between the western Pacific and the highly contested South China Sea. It would be a crucial waterway in the case of China’s invasion of Taiwan.

China’s military regularly sends aircraft and vessels through the channel, which informed the Taiwanese defence ministry.

In a statement shared with the media on Friday, China’s embassy in Manila said that Taiwan is an internal issue for China, so it must never be an issue between China and the Philippines. It was not apparent right away what the statement had been in response to.

The embassy declared in its statement that attempts to implicate the Taiwan question in the maritime tensions between the Philippines and China are perilous without shedding more light on the danger.

When asked why the US was no longer participating in the port project, Cayco said she didn’t know. She added that they had made a proposal, and since that was uncertain, they had sought assistance from the PPA.

Reference: Reuters

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About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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