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DND backs renewed commitment to defense treaty

But hopes it won’t have to be invoked
/ 03:07 PM May 01, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense on Tuesday echoed the reaffirmation of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty based on the “2plus2” meeting in Washington DC but said it was hoping that MDT would not have to be invoked.

The meeting between Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin with US counterparts had a “positive” outcome after both nations reaffirmed its commitment to the MDT, said defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez.

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“This is what we want to stress, that our alliance will be really effective, that they will honor the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Galvez said in mixed English and Filipino in a phone interview.

“It’s because the issue is territorial, it’s still on the diplomatic table and nobody wants to reach the point where we have to rely on the MDT. We don’t like to get to the point that we will seek the MDT. As far as we’re concerned, on that situation, we will continue with the diplomatic track, we stress that we will continue with the importance of a peaceful resolution of the territorial issue,” he said.

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“Only, as far as we’re concerned, like what the  Department of Foreign Affairs said, for it to be a rules-based eh, so we will be forwarding it to the UN for resolution, so what we want to stress is the commitment of the US government on our MDT,” he added.

Galvez said, however, that he hoped it would not come to a point where the MDT should be carried out.

“Nobody wants that because that will be very detrimental to several aspects of our society, of the Philippines, actually the whole world, no one wants that, there are repercussions, that is what we sometimes don’t realize,” he said.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in a press conference after the talks that the US did not take sides in sovereignty claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), but said they have an interest in ensuring freedom of navigation, respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce across the sealanes in the region.

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TAGS: 2plus2, Conflict, Defense, dispute, Foreign Affairs and International relations, Mutual Defense Treaty, Scarborough, Scarborough Shoal, Security, West Philippine Sea
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