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Philippines, US declare Mutual Defense Treaty covers both countries

MANILA, Philippines — The Mutual Defense Treaty extends to the Philippines and the United States (US) in the Pacific, defense secretaries of both nations said.  

In a joint statement issued on Friday, both defense secretaries reaffirmed U.S. support for the Philippines in the wake of the recent West Philippine Sea incident involving China.

On Monday, the Philippines protested China's risky actions involving two Chinese Coast Guard vessels in the West Philippine Sea on Sunday. This incident occurred during a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, involving these Chinese vessels, a Philippine Coast Guard vessel, and an AFP-contracted supply vessel the day before."

“The Secretaries reaffirmed that the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries' public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces-to include the Coast Guard-anywhere in the Pacific to include the South China Sea,” the statement read.

“Both Secretaries committed to redouble efforts to strengthen bilateral coordination, interoperability, and support for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” the statement added.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that its country’s defense commitment to the Philippines is "ironclad".

The United States has contested China's territorial assertion through increased military operations and a stronger naval footprint in the area, while also enhancing its backing for Southeast Asian allies like the Philippines.

In 1951, the United States and the Philippines signed a mutual defense treaty, stipulating that an attack on either party in the Pacific region would trigger mutual defense and assistance." with reports from Gaea Katreena Gabico