US, Philippine leaders agree to boost security cooperation

US President Joe Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have agreed to adopt new defense guidelines amid China's increasing maritime activities.

Biden and Marcos held a summit at the White House on Monday.

The joint statement released after the talks said, "The leaders underscore their unwavering commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea." It added, "They affirm the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of global security and prosperity."

The comments are alluding to China, which has increased military activities near Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

The United States and the Philippines also said they are adopting new guidelines to boost defense cooperation through closer intelligence sharing and increased military interoperability.

The US government said it will transfer C-130 aircraft and patrol vessels to help the Philippines modernize its military.

The joint statement said the two countries welcome cooperation with their partners, expressing hope for establishing three-way cooperation among the US, the Philippines and Japan.

The US and the Philippines have recently been accelerating their security cooperation. Earlier in February, the two countries agreed on a deal that allows the US military to use four additional bases in the Philippines. The two countries' militaries also held their first joint live-fire drill in the South China Sea last month.