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Harris Affirms US Will Abide By MDT If PH Assets In South China Sea Are Attacked
Ali Vicoy/MANILA BULLETIN
November 22nd, 2022 | 13:23 PM | 288 views
United States Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday vowed to honor the US commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the Philippines, which would defend the country from any armed attack on its assets in the South China Sea.
Harris’ pronouncement came at the height of President Marcos’ strong position in the Philippine claims over parts of the disputed waters by citing the 2016 Arbitral Ruling.
In a bilateral talk with the President at the Malacañan Palace, Harris, the second highest US government official, said that that “is an unwavering commitment” that the US has to the Philippines.
”Our relationship is based on mutual concerns about security for the region. We are both proud members of the Indo-Pacific,” she said.
”And in particular as it relates to the Philippines, I will say that we must reiterate always that we stand with you in defense of international rules and norms as it relates to the South China Sea,” she added.
Harris promised that an ”armed attack on the Philippines, armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US Mutual Defense commitments.”
Harris is reiterating her fellow officials’ previous pronouncements as the US flexes its muscle even to the eastern part of the world.
State Secretary Antony Blinken and US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson made the same remark this year.
Harris believed there are ”so many opportunities for us to continue to strengthen our relationship.”
”But the basis of our relationship is based on mutual commitments to international rules and norms, and upholding those international rules and norms in all of the ways that we know allow for again prosperity and security for our respective nations in the region,” she said.
”I will reiterate that the alliance between the United States and the Philippines is a strong one and enduring one, and only under your leadership continues to be strengthened,” she added.
In a press briefing on Sunday night (Manila time), a senior White House official said Harris will visit Palawan, the province closest to the South China Sea, to stress the importance of sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of navigation.
There, she will reaffirm the US defense commitments ”under the mutual defense treaty with the Philippines and our support for the 2016 United Nations arbitral tribunal ruling that rejected China’s expansive maritime claims,” he added.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Joseph Pedrajas
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