Palace: Re­view of US-PH mu­tual de­fense treaty to re­solve 'kinks'

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

T HE re­view of the Mu­tual De­fense Treaty (MDT) be­tween the Philip­pines and the United States (US) re­mains nec­es­sary to ad­dress the "kinks" in the 68-year-old pact, Mala­cañang said on Fri­day, March 1.

"We will have to eval­u­ate," Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son Sal­vador Panelo said in a press con­fer­ence when asked if the Duterte govern­ment is still bent on re­view­ing the treaty aimed at boost­ing co­op­er­a­tion on de­fense be­tween Manila and Wash­ing­ton.

Ear­lier Fri­day, March 1, For­eign Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Teodoro Loc­sin Jr. stressed that there was no need to re­view the MDT de­spite De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana's call to re­view the sup­posed "am­bigu­ous" pro­vi­sions of the agree­ment.

Loc­sin made the re­mark fol­low­ing his meet­ing with US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo at the De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs in Pasay City.

The Philip­pines and the US signed the MDT on Au­gust 31, 1951 in a bid to boost the de­fense and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions.

Panelo said Loren­zana would still want to con­duct a re­view of MDT, de­spite Loc­sin's pro­nounce­ment.

"I am sure the sec­re­tary of De­fense, Loren­zana, would want to re­view de­spite the pro­nounce­ment," the Palace of­fi­cial said.

"There may be some kinks in that treaty that needs to be clar­i­fied... So I think there is still a need to re­view de­spite the pol­icy state­ment," he added.

In a joint press con­fer­ence with Loc­sin in Manila, Pom­peo said the US would come to the Philip­pines' de­fense, in case of China's at­tack amid South China Sea dis­putes.

Pom­peo gave the as­sur­ance, as he stressed that the US would honor the MDT with the Philip­pines in the wake of China's ag­gres­sive mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the re­source-rich South China Sea.

Ar­ti­cle 4 of the MRT states that an armed at­tack against any of the par­ties that would be dan­ger­ous to its own peace and safety "de­clares that it would act to meet the com­mon dan­gers in ac­cor­dance with its con­sti­tu­tional pro­cesses."

"As the South China Sea is part of the Pa­cific, any armed at­tack on Philip­pine forces, air­craft or pub­lic ves­sels in the South China Sea will trig­ger mu­tual de­fense obli­ga­tions un­der Ar­ti­cle 4 of our Mu­tual De­fense Treaty," Pom­peo said.

While the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion seeks to pro­ceed with its plan to re­view the MDT, Panelo said the Palace was "pleased" by the US's pol­icy state­ment with re­spect to at­tacks on Philip­pine troops.

"If they will sup­port us, then we will take it as an ob­ser­vance of the Mu­tual De­fense Treaty be­tween the two coun­tries," the Palace of­fi­cial said.

"Since that is the pol­icy of the US, so there is no need as of now [to re­view the treaty], un­less there are move­ments that will dis­pute or that will con­tra­dict what the US sec­re­tary of State said," he added.

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