Law expert: China’s actions may spur US-PH defense treaty
MANILA, Philippines—Whatever is China’s move against the BRP Sierra Madre will trigger the application of the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty with the United State, an international law expert said Thursday.
“China also better rethink whether it should [tow away] a commissioned naval vessel. Derelict as it may be, it is subject to full sovereign immunity and any attempt to tow it away from Ayungin may finally trigger the applicability of the US-Phil Mutual Defense Treaty,” UP Law Professor Harry Roque said in a statement.
While the US has said that the dispute at the West Philippine Sea will not trigger an application of the treaty, “an attack against a Philippine-commissioned naval may be sufficient for the purpose,” Roque said.
Last Saturday, Chinese Coast Guard vessels tried to prevent a civilian vessel from bringing in supplies and a fresh batch of marines to the grounded ship.
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