The US and the MDT
|Posted by Admin under Editorial|
The United States has reiterated her firm commitment to honor its obligations to the Philippines under the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in the wake of the latest flare-up with China in Scarborough/Panatag Shoal or Baja de Masinloc.
Secretary Hillary Clinton has given this assurance even as she urged the Philippines and other claimants in the West Philippine/South China Sea to clarify and settle their claims legally and in accordance with international law, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared the MDT "the cornerstone of our security relationship."
But the question that lingers is whether the US will come to the aid of the Philippines if its ships are attacked by Chinese gunboats now snugly anchored at Panatag Shoal.
Will the US honor its "firm" commitments under the MDT? The answer to this question is NO.
Panatag Shoal and the Spratly Islands are not part of Philippine territory as defined by the MDT when it was signed 60 years ago. The US will therefore not respond if an attack occurs outside Philippine territory or in the islands being claimed by it.
This probably explains why the US is "encouraging" all nations involved in the territorial dispute to seek a peaceful solution based on international law. Faced with this reality, the Philippines must shift from a posture of belligerency to negotiations.