The United States has committed to defending the Philippines, including in the South China Sea. The word used – ‘ironclad’. It's what President Joe Biden said to Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Junior, during the first White House visit by a Philippines leader in 10 years. The commitment comes at a time that Manila is facing increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. Beijing unilaterally claims almost the entire expanse of water as its own. This includes islands which Manila claims sovereignty over. Sovereignty that’s increasingly being challenged by Beijing.