The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold a three-day talk with the US on security cooperation, climate change and trade.

The talks serve a timely purpose after a Pentagon report stated that China is engaging in cyber espionage, while it attempts to build-up its military, directed at US technology and defense information. The latest news comes amidst the standoff with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

Senior officials from the United States and ASEAN members are expected in Manila to take part in discussions concerning the region and its relationship with the US.

The talks will also prepare for the upcoming US-ASEAN leaders’ talks in November. The Philippines, locked in the month-long standoff, are looking to the US to bolster its position against China through military exchanges and transfers of military vessels and aircrafts. Beijing, on the other hand, was rumored to be preparing for war which officials denied, including the alleged cyberattacks on the US.