PHILIPPINES MARCOS JR. SAYS US TIES ‘NORMAL’ – his government and China were slowly inching toward a solution 

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said that relations between Washington and Manila were back on a “normal road of partnership.”

Speaking to a U.S. think-tank during a visit to Washington in which he met this week with President Joe Biden, Marcos said bilateral ties now need to evolve to make them more responsive to present and emerging challenges.

Marcos Jr said on Thursday that his government and China were slowly inching toward a solution in an energy exploration dispute in the South China Sea.

According to Marcos, Manila was still working on establishing a crisis hotline with Beijing amid maritime tensions between the two countries and he hopes it will be in place soon.

The United States and the Philippines have agreed on new guidelines for their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, following multiple requests by Manila to make clear the conditions under which Washington would come to its defense.

Though the United States has reassured the Philippines their defense partnership is “ironclad,” Manila has argued the seven-decade-old treaty needs updating to reflect a different global security environment.

Guidelines issued by the Pentagon now specifically mention that mutual defense commitments would be invoked if there were an armed attack on either country “anywhere in the South China Sea.

China maintains its coast guard operates lawfully in its waters.  Critics argue that China claims the whole of the South China Sea Area illegally and ignores all other regional country’s demands on the resources in their local areas.