Panelo: Invoking US-PH defense pact vs China is reckless, premature
MANILA, Philippines—Invoking the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States against China after a Chinese vessel rammed a Filipino fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea will be “reckless and premature,” Malacañang said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after Senator Panfilo Lacson said the government should not wait for armed aggression to happen in the disputed area before invoking the 66-year-old defense treaty of the Philippines with the US.
Lacson, a former chief of police, also described the MDT as the only arsenal in our disposal in case the ramming and sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in Recto Bank escalates into an armed confrontation.
“Gamitin daw natin ‘yung Mutual Defense pact. Mawalang galang na sa kaibigan kong si Ping [Lacson]. I think ‘yan ang tinatawag na reckless at premature,” Panelo said in an interview over dzRH.
(They sya we should use the Mutual Defense pact, well excuse me, my friend Ping. I think that is what I call reckless and premature.)
“Eh wala pa ngang act of aggression. Hindi pa natin alam kung ano bang nangyari doon, is it intentional? Assuming na intentional, ang tanong ay ‘yan ba sanctioned ng Chinese government? Hindi ka basta babanat,” he added.
(There is no act of aggression yet. We still do not know what happened there, was it intentional? Assuming that it’s intentional, the question here is whether that act is sanctioned by the Chinese government. It’s not right to just attack.)
The defense accord dictated that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States were to be attacked by an external party.
Earlier, Panelo and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the MDT can only be invoked in case of an armed attack against the Philippines.
The June 9 incident in Recto Bank that left 22 Filipino fishermen abandoned floating in open sea for hours prompted the Philippines to file a diplomatic protest against China. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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