Not yet time to invoke PH-US treaty over WPS incidents – Marcos
BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Saturday said he was not yet inclined to invoke the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States over incidents in the West Philippine Sea because it would only escalate rather than cool down tensions.
Speaking to reporters here after joining the annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at Fort del Pilar, the president said activating the MDT at this time would only be “counterproductive.”
“It is because if we activate that, what we are doing is escalating, intensifying the tensions in the area,” Marcos said, adding that the Philippine government is in “constant contact with our treaty partners,” such as the United States and other countries in the Asian region.
“And that I think is the better recourse rather than to go directly to the Mutual Defense Treaty which again, I am very concerned would provoke the tensions rather than cool the tensions down,” he said. The MDT, signed in 1951, is an agreement between the Philippines and the United States to defend each other in case of an armed attack on a public vessel, troops or an airship.
Marcos has summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to Malacañang to express “serious concern over the increasing frequency and intensity of actions” by the Chinese against the Philippine Coast Guard and Filipino fisherfolk.
“I said that the laser-pointing incident was only a part of what we are seeing as intensifying or escalating of the actions of the militia, marine militia of China, the coast guard of China, and the navy of China,” he said.
“So we are hoping that we can find a better way rather than these incursions into our maritime territory and the rather aggressive acts that we have been seeing in the past few weeks and months,” he added.
The president said he reminded Huang that Beijing’s incursions in the South China Sea were not consistent with what he and Xi discussed in Beijing in January when they agreed to establish a direct communication line to prevent “miscommunication and miscalculation” in the disputed sea.
In his bilateral meeting with Marcos in Beijing in January, Xi promised to “find a compromise and find a solution” that will allow Filipinos to fish again in their “natural” fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea without Chinese interference.
Despite the increasing Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea, Marcos said in his speech before PMA alumni and top security officials of the government that his administration would continue to uphold the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in accordance with the Constitution and with international law.
“This country has seen heightened geopolitical tensions that do not conform to our ideals of peace and threaten the security and stability of the country, of the region, and of the world,” he said. But he added: “This country will not lose one inch of its territory.”
PH can invoke Mutual Defense Treaty with US after Chinese laser incident — Carpio
US: We stand with PH; China coast guard’s conduct ‘unsafe’
China harasses Philippine Coast Guard vessel with laser
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.