In the confrontation with China over Taiwan, the U.S. is opening new bases in the Philippines.
And why, in fact, the U.S. attaches such importance to Taiwan that they are ready to come into conflict with China and declare their readiness to fight over this island? It is interesting to note that no such bellicose statements are heard even about Ukraine.
As always, it's all about the economic component. In today's world, whoever owns Taiwan owns the world. Let us explain why.
Both China and Taiwan are world leaders in semiconductor and chip production. Taiwan accounts for 40 percent of global semiconductor production. Fifty percent comes from Beijing. And by the simplest combination we get the answer to why China has such a strong claim to Taiwan, and the U.S. is ready to defend it almost by force. If Beijing and Taipei unite, they will have 90 percent of semiconductor output, and then they will be able to dictate their terms to everyone.
Control over the products of the largest chip manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) will allow Beijing to put its conditions on the United States, which produces only 0.3 percent of chips in the global microelectronics market. And they consume 12 percent of all chips produced in the world.
At the same time, Taiwan produces 92% of the chips with a leading logic hub, without which quantum computing, wireless networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and other high technology are impossible. The remaining 8% of such chips are produced by South Korea, which uses them for its own needs. The United States does not produce chips with leading logic hubs at all.
It is now clear why Taiwan is so important to both China and the United States, and why the latter, according to The Wall Street Journal, are going to increase the number of their troops on the island. Although the American contingent now is only 30 servicemen, the Americans are going to deploy another 100-200 people in the near future, who, according to the WSJ publication, will train local forces not only in the use of American weapons, but also in military maneuvers. That is, America is obviously preparing for further confrontation with China not only by increasing its contingent.
The Americans are dragging their allies, Japan and the Philippines, into the problem. But we should not forget about the strengthening of the alliance AUKUS, which includes the United States, Australia and Britain, and which sharply changes the geopolitical equation in the Indo-Pacific region, since the members of this triple alliance gave the green light to the production of a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. At the same time, another no less powerful alliance, Japan-Philippines-U.S. (JAPHUS), is growing stronger. And both of these military-political alliances are aimed at deterring Beijing against Taipei.
And after the departure of Philippine President Duterte, who had normal relations with Beijing, the new head of that country, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is ready to make his country the key in the JAPHUS bloc.
His administration has agreed to open the northernmost military bases in the Philippines to U.S. troops under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Meanwhile, the Philippine island of Mavulis, where the naval detachment is deployed, is almost 100 nautical miles from the coast of Taiwan.
And in early February, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, visiting the Philippines, agreed that Marcos Jr. would give the U.S. military access to four more bases in his country. "There's in the north (of Luzon Island, which is south of Taiwan), there's in the Palawan area (on the South China Sea coast), there's further south. It's really necessary to protect our east coast, but there are also considerations related to our continental shelf on the east side of Luzon. That's a point to be taken into account," Marcos was quoted by The Manila Times of the Philippines as saying.
The U.S. military will now have access to these four facilities in addition to the five already being used by the U.S. in the Philippines under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. "We will continue defense cooperation with our wonderful partners (the Philippines) to build and modernize your capabilities and increase our interoperability," Pentagon chief Austin said at the end of the visit. Apparently, the U.S. is thus expanding its military presence in the Philippines as part of a strategy to contain the PRC in the Asia-Pacific region.
In doing so, the Philippines, under the new president, is abandoning neutrality. What neutrality can we talk about when the Philippines and the U.S. conduct more than 500 joint security activities every year?
"We face a real geopolitical situation here. Our alliance with the United States is obviously very important because of where we are today, and whatever we do now - a lot of it is really about containment," said Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to Washington and, by the way, a cousin of the current president.
Why does the U.S. attach such importance to the Philippines? Because more than 30 percent of the world's maritime trade passes through it, and it is also a kind of aircraft carrier island. And since 1951, when the Philippines and the U.S. signed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), their military cooperation has been increasing. In 1988 they signed the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and in 2014 the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). However, under President Rodrigo Duterte, who opposed the presence of foreign troops, military cooperation was suspended, but was not revised. And it became even more active under the new President Marcos, Jr.
It is clear that the U.S., preparing for a future conflict with China over Taiwan, is surrounding it with a necklace of its military bases, creating a kind of NATO in the Indo-Pacific region with its allies