Biden and Xi congratulate Marcos Jr. on his electoral win in the Philippines

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The leaders of the United States and China have congratulated Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on his election as president of the Philippines, after the son of the country’s former dictator declared victory and pledged to be a leader “for all Filipinos.”

US President Joe Biden called Marcos Jr to congratulate him, the White House said in a statement on Thursday, adding that he looks forward to working with the president-elect to deepen ties with the Philippines, a long-standing treaty friend of Washington.

Biden stated his desire to “increase bilateral cooperation” on a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 epidemic, the climate challenge, economic growth, and human rights respect.

According to Chinese state television, China’s President Xi Jinping also called with Marcos Jr on Wednesday, and the Chinese leader emphasized that the two countries have been “partners through thick and thin.”

“I value the growth of China-Philippine relations and am eager to have a solid working relationship with President-elect Marcos while adhering to good neighborliness and friendliness,” Xi added.

The Philippines is on the front lines of US-China relations, and some analysts believe Marcos Jr’s victory will be a setback to the US’s efforts to counter China, its key strategic opponent in the Pacific.

With the initial count nearly complete, the incoming leader, widely known as “Bongbong,” has more than 56 percent of the vote, more than twice as many votes as his nearest challenger, liberal Leni Robredo.

The resounding triumph has also aroused fears of further deterioration of democracy in the Philippines.

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