Sunday, Apr 26, 2015Sunday, Apr 26, 2015

Philippines says US has an obligation under treaty to help in case of attack

Published on Apr 30, 2014 1:40 PM
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario delivering a statement during a news conference in Manila March 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters) - Washington has a treaty obligation to come to the assistance of the Philippines in case of an attack on its territory or its armed forces in the South China Sea, Manila's Foreign Minister said on Wednesday, disputing criticism of a new security pact.

The United States and the Philippines on Monday signed a new 10-year Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement allowing US forces wider access to local bases and to preposition ships, aircraft, equipment and troops for maritime security.

The new military deal is a testimony to America's "ironclad" commitment to defend its oldest South-east Asian ally, US President Barack Obama told Filipino and American troops taking part in military exercises next week at an Army base in Manila.

"Under the Mutual Defense Treaty, the US will come to the assistance of the Philippines if our metropolitan territory is attacked or if our armed forces are attacked in the Pacific area," Mr Albert del Rosario said in a statement. "In 1999, in a diplomatic letter, the US affirmed that the South China Sea is considered as part of the Pacific area."

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!