Any attack on PH in South China Sea will ‘trigger’ mutual defense treaty obligations – Pompeo
MANILA, Philippines — United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday assured that the U.S. will come to the Philippines’ aid should there be any “armed attack” on the disputed South China Sea (SCS).
Pompeo said that any “armed attack” against the Philippines will “trigger mutual defense obligations” under the two nation’s mutual defense treaty.
“As South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on the Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under Article IV of our mutual defense treaty,” Pompeo said in a press conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) main office in Pasay City.
He noted how China’s island building and military activities in the SCS “threaten” the Philippines’ sovereignty, security and economic livelihood.
“As an island nation, the Philippines depends on free and unobstructed access to the seas, China’s island building and military building in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security as well as economic livelihood as well as that of U.S.,” Pompeo said.
The U.S. State Secretary reassured the Philippine government of the United States’ support amid the ongoing dispute in the South China Sea.
“Our commitments under that treaty (1951 Mutual Defense Treaty) are clear, our obligations are real, the South China Sea is certainly part of an important body of water for freedom of navigation,” Pompeo said. /muf
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