Quantcast
Latest Stories

US neutral in Scarborough standoff but will help upgrade Philippine Navy


2+2 MEETING Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta face the media in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

WASHINGTON—The United States says it will help build the Philippines’ sea patrol capability but will not take sides in that nation’s standoff with China at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.

The top diplomats and defense officials of the treaty allies held their first joint meeting on Monday and discussed the three-week standoff at Scarborough Shoal in the region which Manila calls West Philippine Sea.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reaffirmed US commitment to its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines, and to freedom of navigation and regional security. She reiterated support for a diplomatic resolution to territorial disputes.

A joint statement said they would cooperate on building the Philippines’ maritime security capabilities. The United States will transfer a second ship to the poorly equipped Philippine Navy this year.

Clinton later told reporters that the meeting of the two countries’ four key national security officials was “a testament to our shared commitment to write a new chapter” in their partnership.

She voiced concern about Scarborough Shoal, repeating that Washington does not take sides on competing sovereignty claims there but has a national interest in maintaining freedom of navigation as well as peace and stability.

“The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all those involved for resolving the various disputes that they encounter,” she said. “We oppose the threat or use of force by any party to advance its claims.”

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin appealed to their counterparts for help in building a “minimum credible defense.”

Painful but true

Del Rosario lamented how the international news media has accurately described the poor state of the Philippine armed forces.

“It sounds terribly painful for the Philippines, but more painful is the fact that this is true, and we only have ourselves to blame for it,” Del Rosario said candidly as Clinton and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta listened across a table.

“For the Philippines to be minimally relied upon as a US regional partner … it therefore behooves us to resort to all possible means to build at the very least a most minimal credible defense posture,” Del Rosario said.

“On our own, we will do the best we can,” he said.

“Developing a minimum credible defense posture may however be hastened mainly through an enhancement of the activities we do together with our singular treaty and through a positive consideration of increased assistance that we seek at this time as well,” he said.

The two nations, which completed extensive war games earlier this month, are bound by a mutual defense treaty in which the United States has pledged to come to the aid of its weaker ally if it faces military aggression.

“We are concurrently seeking a higher level of assistance from other international partners,” Del Rosario added.

Credible defense

Gazmin alluded to tension with China over islands in the South China Sea as he called for the need to “intensify our mutual trust to uphold maritime security and the freedom of navigation.”

“We should be able to work together to build the Philippines minimum credible defense posture, especially in upholding maritime security,” Gazmin said.

The Philippines and China have been embroiled in a dispute at Scarborough Shoal, with both nations stationing vessels there for nearly three weeks to assert their sovereignty.

The Philippines says the area, which it calls Panatag Shoal, is its territory because it falls well within its 270-kilometer exclusive economic zone, as recognized by international law.

The Philippines has called for arbitration through the United Nations to end the dispute, but China has refused.

Legal approach

In a press conference after the talks, the Philippine officials stressed diplomacy when asked what aid they had sought from Washington to bolster Manila’s ability to patrol its waters and deter what they call intrusions.

“The assistance we have sought is to help us bring the case to international legal bodies so that the approach is the legal rules-based approach in resolving the issue in the South China Sea,” Gazmin said.

Positive result

In Manila, Peter Galvez, spokesperson of the Department of National Defense, said US affirmation of its treaty commitments with the Philippines was one of the significant results of the Washington talks.

“The outcome of the discussion was very positive. We have cleared the question, which is what we want to stress, that our alliance will really be effective, that they will honor the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT),” Galvez told reporters in a phone interview Tuesday.

The department took no issue with the US stance not to take sides in the standoff.

“We do not want to reach the point where we will seek (assistance under) the MDT,” Galvez said.

Peaceful resolution

“We will continue with the diplomatic track. We stress that we will continue with the importance of a peaceful resolution of the territorial issue, for a rules-based resolution, so we will be forwarding it to the UN for resolution.”

“What we just want to stress the commitment of the US government on our MDT,” Galvez added. With reports from AFP, AP and Dona Z. Pazzibugan in Manila


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: China , Congress , Foreign affairs , International relations , Mutual Defense Treaty , Philippines , US

  • bahog_itlog

    Kahit F-15 lang at $15M each.

  • draculah

    hey Filifinos if your just gonna argue here because of being afraid to face the truth about your own land its not gonna work and its not gonna help. you should ask your president to do something now! ask him not to focus on girls. its not the time for girls. our country is under critical condition.i dont care if you know all the roots of poverty here in Philippines. knowing about it is not useful without making any actions.your like those useless leaders, saying a lot of things they will do during elections and in the end those words will never be reflected. you know, you should blame your self first for voting them and making a lot  of children that you cant give a good future.if every one of you is not responsible for making your country strong, you should let the americans lead it. americans are better than chinese. american people are not dirty. chinese routines are disgusting. chinese people are eating fetus and uncooked food. if i’m gonna choose from americans and chinese i will choose americans. think about it! lolz XD hahahaha.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  2. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  3. HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  4. Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  5. Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  8. Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  9. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  10. Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
Advertisement

News

  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Man found dead in Quezon City, alleged victim of summary execution–report
  • Aquino to lead Air Force turnover rites
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Marketplace