China calls on the Philippines to prevent the US from «profiting» from the installation of military bases in its country

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin meets with Philippine Defense Chief Andres Centin – CHAD MCNEELEY / DEPARTAMENTO DEFENSA

China has called on the Philippines to prevent the United States from taking advantage of its country after agreeing to give the U.S. military access to four new military bases.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a statement that «it is to be hoped» that the Philippines «will remain vigilant» and «resist being taken advantage of and dragged into troubled waters,» bringing to the present the agreement signed Wednesday between the US and Philippine governments.

Thus, he said China has always advocated that defense and security cooperation between countries should favor peace and not target a third party, as the new military agreement signed by the Philippines and the United States would do.

«The United States, out of its own self-interest and mindset (…) continues to escalate its military posture in this region. Its actions increase regional tension and undermine peace and stability in the region,» reads the missive from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines.

Thus, the Chinese representation in the Philippines has argued that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has defamed China over the South China Sea issue by promoting an «anti-China political agenda».

«Such moves contradict the common aspiration of countries in the region to pursue peace, cooperation and development, and run counter to the common aspiration of the Filipino people to seek sound economic recovery and a better life in cooperation with China,» the Asian giant has said.

China’s statement came a day after the United States and the Philippines agreed to install four new military bases in the country, where it will be able to build facilities to store and supply equipment after the two countries reached a new security agreement.

The agreement comes amid rising tensions in the region over pressure from China in the South China Sea. In particular, the Philippines and China are embroiled in a territorial dispute over over overlapping claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing has seized areas and built artificial islands with military-capable facilities.

In addition to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim the area, which is considered rich in natural resources.