US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said the United States would defend the Philippines against any “armed attack” in the South China Sea and was committed to ensuring that China “does not pose a threat” that could close the strategic waterway.
Speaking during a stopover in Manila after the US-North Korea summit in Vietnam, Pompeo said the United States would fulfill its obligations under the 1951 Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) if the Philippines fell victim to aggression and singled out China as a threat to stability.
China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, your security and therefore economic livelihood as well as that of the United States,” he said during a joint press conference with Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr.
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 the Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.
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