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VOA Asia Weekly: US, Japan, and Philippine Leaders Meet to Counter China's Maritime Aggressions

VOA Asia Weekly: US, Japan, and Philippine Leaders Meet to Counter China's Maritime Aggressions
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Chinese leader Xi hosts former Taiwanese President Ma. US Treasury Secretary Yellen’s warning to China. Thailand tightens security amid Myanmar border clashes. Laos bear cubs rescued from wildlife poacher.

U.S. President Joe Biden hosts Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Junior in a historic trilateral summit.

Welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Chris Casquejo in Washington. That story is just ahead, but first, making headlines:

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with former Taiwan President Ma Ying Jeou in Beijing this Wednesday, according to Chinese state media. Xi said outside interference could not stop the "family reunion" of China and Taiwan, and there are no issues that cannot be discussed. This trip was Ma’s second visit to China since March of last year.

“I've made clear that President Biden and I will not accept that reality again.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned China on Monday that Washington will not accept a repeat of the "China shock" of the early 2000s, when a flood of Chinese imports destroyed about 2 million American manufacturing jobs. This announcement comes after her four days of talks with Chinese officials, as the Biden administration plans to push China to change its industrial policy threatening U.S. jobs.

Exit polls show South Korea's left-leaning opposition party, the Democratic Party, and its allies winning a majority in the country's 22 parliamentary elections on Wednesday. This is seen as a setback to the conservative agenda President Yoon Suk Yeol, whose popularity has suffered amid a cost-of-living crisis and a spate of political scandals.

Thailand’s military tightened security along a western border Wednesday as the Myanmar military junta and an armed ethnic group clashed for the second day in Myawaddy. It is Myanmar’s most active trading post with Thailand. The Thai government ordered several army vehicles with roof-mounted machine guns to patrol the streets of Mae Sot.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday announced plans to upgrade U.S.-Japan military relations, with both sides looking to tighten cooperation amid concerns about North Korea's nuclear program and China's increasing military assertiveness in the Pacific.

"To boldly go where no one has gone before."

On Wednesday night, top figures from business, sports, and politics attended a state dinner honoring Kishida.

Biden hosted Kishida and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Junior in a White House summit Thursday, sending a clear message to Beijing to stop behaving aggressively against its neighbors in the South China Sea. Leaders focused on dealing with Chinese so-called grey zone tactics of intimidation that fall dangerously close to triggering a mutual defense treaty between Washington and Manila. VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara has the story.

Ramped up aggression in the South China Sea, with Chinese Coast Guard vessels deploying water cannons and performing other dangerous maneuvers on Philippine boats.

It was a focus of the trilateral summit Thursday between President Joe Biden and leaders of two U.S. allies in Asia — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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

China's so-called gray zone tactics of intimidation, including ramming into ships fall dangerously close to triggering the mutual defense treaty between Washington and Manila.

Marcos did not publicly mention China but couched his words in diplomatic terms often used to target Beijing.

“Facing the complex challenges of our time requires concerted efforts on everyone's part, a dedication to a common purpose and an unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order.”

Kishida is concerned with similar Chinese tactics around disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

“In the midst of compound crises faced by the global community, multilayered cooperation between allies and like-minded countries is essential if we are to maintain and bolster a free and open international order based on the rule of law.”

Last week, the Philippines, the U.S., Japan and Australia held joint naval and air operations in the South China Sea to deter Beijing, prompting criticism by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning.

“China is resolutely opposed to the Cold War mentality and bloc politics, and to words and deeds that make and exacerbate contradictions and undermine other countries' strategic security and interests."

Biden, Marcos and Kishida announced new maritime defense deterrence measures, alongside infrastructure investments in the Philippines and collaboration on global humanitarian assistance efforts.

Patsy Widakuswara, VOA News, Washington.

Visit for the most up-to-date stories.
I’m Chris Casquejo.

Finally, to Laos, and what’s believed to be the largest-ever rescue of endangered bear cubs worldwide.

Sixteen Asiatic Black Bear or moon bear cubs were rescued from the home of a wildlife poacher in Laos last month.

Now they’re thriving on bottle feeding at a sanctuary for the species.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly.