Option: America

Malacañang is still optimistic about a peaceful resolution to the maritime conflict with China over the disputed Spratly islands but is prepared to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States in case of an armed attack on the Philippines.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said the Philippines expects the United States to be its ally in the event the territorial dispute escalates in the region.

“We have a standing Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States so the main, the relevant portion of that treaty is that the United States has been our ally and they will come. We expect them to be our allies in any problem that will require them to help,” Ochoa said in a press conference after the Independence Day rites in Malacañang.

The mutual accord between Manila and Washington, signed in 1951, stated that both nations would support each of other if either one was attacked by an external party. An armed attack involves assaults on the main territory or island territory under jurisdiction of either of the parties, or security forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

The Philippines recently protested the illegal incursions of Chinese military into its territorial waters in recent months. The incidents reportedly occurred in the Reed Basin, which not included in the disputed territory in the South China Sea.

Read more at Manila Bulletin


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