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US reaffirms defense treaty duty, condemns China’s ‘provocative’ actions in Ayungin

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — Responding to a collision between Chinese and Philippines vessels during a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, the United States reaffirmed its defense treaty obligation with the country on Monday.

In a statement, the US State Department called the China coast guard’s “unsafe” maneuvers “provocative” as it blocked and collided with a Philippine resupply boat.

“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing an October 22 Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea,” it said.

“The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea," it added.

Manila entered into the the Mutual Defense Treaty with Washington on Aug. 30, 1951. It provides that both countries must come to each other's defense in the event of an external party attack on one or the other.

It states that the responsibilities will be triggered in the case of an “armed attack” on either the Philippines or US.

Authorities said 13 Chinese vessels were spotted during the latest resupply mission to the grounded BRP Sierra Madre, where Beijing’s ships collided with the two Filipino military-contracted civilian boats.

The Philippine coast guard said the Chinese ships shadowed the vessels before maneuvering to collide and block them.

Meanwhile, other countries such as Canada, France, and Britain, and the European Union have also supported the Philippines and denounced China’s claims.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the country has filed a fresh diplomatic protest against China over the incident.