Author Topic: Philippines mulls clarifying if disputed territories part of US defense treaty  (Read 8503 times)

adroth

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Philippines mulls clarifying if disputed territories part of defense treaty with US
By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net / 01:27 PM December 20, 2018

https://globalnation.inquirer.net/172107/philippines-mulls-clarifying-if-disputed-territories-part-of-defense-treaty-with-us#ixzz5aDBfeATB

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is eyeing to clarify with the United States if the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea are covered by the Mutual Defense Treaty.

“We are thinking about that. We also want to review that,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters on Thursday when asked if the Philippines should finally resolve the questions surrounding the treaty.


< Edited >

Ayoshi

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See also:
* Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
* A sustainable, whole-nation, “Kobayashi Maru” solution to China’s aggression
* US - PH Mutual Defense Treaty

=====

US reaffirms security commitment to Philippines | Philstar - December 22, 2018 - 12:42am
Quote
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the State Department in Washington yesterday. The meeting was a follow-up to their phone conversation last October.

In a statement, the US embassy in Manila said the two officials discussed cooperation on issues of mutual concern, including counterterrorism and regional concerns such as the situation in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

< snipped >

The US reaffirmation came a day after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he wanted a review of the provisions of the Philippines’ defense treaty with the US.

Lorenzana stressed the need to review the treaty given the ambivalent stand of the US on the country’s maritime domain, including its territorial issues in the West Philippine Sea.

< snipped >

But the US had made it clear it’s not taking sides in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea and the West Philippine Sea among the Philippines, China and other Southeast Asian countries with claims to areas in the sea.

The US, in its security treaty with Japan, is clear about its position to defend its powerful Asian ally and former enemy from external attacks. In Article 5 of its security pact with the US, Japan allows American forces stationed in the country to help maintain peace and repel foreign aggressors or put down internal disturbances sparked by instigation or intervention by external forces.

horge

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We've had numerous US ambassadors, US State Dept Secys, and US Presidents delicately, and also not
so delicately, denying a US obligation to mutually-defend KIG.

Longstanding US policy of neutrality wrt the PH-CN dispute, instead focusing on freedom of navigation,
should be enough answer from a technical standpoint:

If the US considered KIG part of Philippine territory, then neutrality would not be an option.
Just look at the date when the MDT was inked versus when Cloma claimed KIG, or (more to the point)
when PH formally incorporated KIG as Philippine territory... and you can see that KIG is literally not what
the US signed up for.

US assurances --however hazy-- of support in crunch time, should also be enough answer wrt to what
the US would do outside of the MDT, if KIG were attacked. Trying to bind the US response in KIG to the
PH-US MDT may politically (and practically) limit what the US can do to back PH up, in case of conflict.

Trying to pin the US down on this issue right now, and so publicly, is questionable.

Even if Pres. Duterte had not thrown Pres. Trump's invite to the US, back in Trump's face...
Even if Duterte hadn't made a very public display of siding with China while scorning the US...
Even if Jim Mattis hadn't resigned as Def Secy, over Trump's no-foreign-entanglements policy drift...

...why pre-empt asking, in this public manner?
Article III of the US-PH MDT is very clear on the mode of asking such a question, and it's Teddy Locsin
who should be asking it, not Delfin Lorenzana, and definitely not by wayof pre-emptive press release.

Besides, Lorenzana just met with US State Dept Secy Mike Pompeo last September.
Did someone forget to ask something they felt important, or are they forgetting the answer?


https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/09/24/1854160/us-philippines-affirm-commitment-mutual-defense-treaty



https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33233.pdf
https://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/05/03/12/joker-says-mutual-defense-treaty-useless

adroth

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Not all treaties are created equally, and are ultimately dependent on who sits in the White House . . . who gets to decide how to use the 90 day grace period for military action.

Evaluating the "3rd option": MDT

A strategy that relies on the MDT is a line of thinking with direct lineage to the ill-fated pre-World War II “War Plan Orange” that was supposed to have sent the US Pacific fleet across the Pacific to repulse an Imperial Japanese attack. As USAFEE forces that retreated to Bataan as part of the plan discovered -- the hard way in April 9, 1942 -- the mere threat of retaliation did not prevent invasion, and the promise of reinforcement could be hampered by other more-pressing concerns. Unfortunately for the defenders of Bataan, the attack on Pearl Harbor had put the United States on the defensive and the security of the continental US had become paramount. They had become expendable.

In addition to keeping the Bataan experience in mind, when weighing the value of the MDT as shield, one must also be mindful of the wording of the treaty and the mechanics for enforcement.

Article 4 and 5 of the US-PH treaty states

ARTICLE IV

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

ARTICLE V

For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

Arguably, faith in the MDT’s use as a shield against China emanates from these two provisions in the treaty. Particularly in the segments that indicate that an attack on the “armed forces, vessels or aircraft” of either party will trigger the MDT.

But how does this treaty ACTUALLY compare with other mutual defense agreements that the US has with its other allies and how is it enforced?

Treaty that created NATO
Treaty between US and Japan

While the JP-US and PH-US mutual defense treaties both lack the automated response provision of the NATO treaty, the US has categorically declared that they recognize Japan’s claims to the Senkakus. The same cannot be said for the KIG.

The discretionary nature of MDT activation, and the lack of overt commitment to defense of the KIG -- both of which represented the status quo long before the current administration came to office -- should give anyone pause when opting to rely on the MDT as a shield against Chinese aggression.

horge

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I guess most of what I'm saying is this:

The PH-US MDT doesn't include KIG today, and couldn't have included them when the MDT was inked
If KIG were included, it would be impossible for the US to assume a neutral stance (as it clearly, presently does)
wrt to our ongoing territorial dispute with CN. That's just basic, common sense, with no need for clarification. Any
PH attempt to 'clarify' is thence actually an attempt to EXPAND the coverage of the MDT.

Again, the MDT was set down in 1951. Tomas Cloma claimed some of the Spratly Islands in 1956 for himself, and
named them the "Free Territory of Freedomland". He waived his rights to the same in 1974, in favor of PH which
formally incorporated the territory as Kalayaan in 1978. There is a mechanism in the MDT for 'clarifying' or perhaps
modifying the treaty's scope, but in all the decades since 1951, the US has remained firm against any attempt to
"move the goalposts" of the MDT.

This is a pretty fucking bad time to try to 'move the goalposts' in the PH US MDT
Even if it's just a trial balloon being flown in the press, it's very ham-handed... and actually comical, for PH to be
seeking assurances of support from the US against CN, after so many months of PH shamelessly flirting with CN
AND scorning the US. Moving from feelers to actual finagling, Jim Mattis was the last voice of reason against any
Libertarian excesses (via prior Trump campaign promises) in the current US administration. Sure, neither those
Kurds nor the other allied parties in Syria and Afghanistan have, or are operating under, an MDT with the US, but
the sudden decision to honor a campaign promise "to bring troops home" means leaving those allies stranded
and vulnerable ---and Trump doesn't care: it's now more important to bring, and keep, the troops home.

ANY newfound reticence 'to commit US forces abroad' doesn't bode well for a PH attempt to BROADEN A BASIS
'to commit US forces abroad', on behalf of Philippine interests. Even if Trump now backtracks to original pick
Tom Cotton for new Def Secy, Cotton is no Chaos. There will be no one in Trump's Cabinet with anywhere near
the necessary cred, to be able to stall any further isolationist drift. Even without this drift, the US administration
is in borderline crisis mode right now, due to several factors separate from Mattis' exit, and will not have the
time or inclination to bend an ear to PH requests for increased US exposure, so again: fucking bad timing.

The way to ensure (increasingly self-interested) US involvement is by focusing on US interests, not Philippine ones.
It is clearly in the US interest to counter Chinese expansion, and preserve Freedom of Navigation, in the WPS.
That's actually a much wider and much more sensitive tripwire than the MDT, and it behooves the Philippines to do
its part and develop capabilities as a useful partner in preserving Freedom of Navigation. PH needs FON as much
as any other trading nation that sends (out/for) goods through the WPS. There are just too many fanbois with a
hard-on for MRF and FFG, but no concern about the lack of PH logistical muscle to support said assets, nor indeed
to support our allies who have and actually know how to employ MRF and FFG against CN capabilities. There's
no lack of pie-in-the-sky BVRAAM tingles, and not enough concern about AEW support, let alone broad-spectrum
AD-defeat realities.

tl;dr: it is potentially a very dangerous time for PH, made potentially worse by a foreign policy of this government
that boils down to clumsily trying to play the US against CN, and an AFP Modernization policy which is too insular.



« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 01:14:05 PM by horge »

adroth

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I guess most of what I'm saying is this:

The PH-US MDT doesn't include KIG today, and couldn't have included them when the MDT was inked

When you look the MDT closer . . . the US prepared itself for changes in the Philippine position and/or claims. But not in the way that "hide behind the MDT" advocates think. Learning from hard lessons of WWI . . . the US actually left itself a backdoor through which it can simply say "No".

Consider the following articles of the US-PH MDT

ARTICLE IV

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

ARTICLE V

For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

The PH MDT is based on a template that the US used for a number of allies in 1951. Even the original US-JP treaty was pretty much identical to ours. When Japan negotiated a new treaty, they kept the wording of Article V above.

Taken by itself, the treaty sounds firm in its support of Philippine interests. HOWEVER . . . compare this with how the NATO equivalent of Article V is written.

Article 5
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Note the absence of "forthwith" in our treaty, and how prominent it is in the NATO treaty. The US and NATO enjoys a guaranteed response to attack of the other. This mechanism was tested in the wake of the 9-11 attack against New York City, which then saw NATO in operation in Afghanistan.

The Philippines neither enjoys this automatic response benefit . . . nor is it bound to it the way NATO is. While the Philippines did provide support during Gulf War II, it was also famously made the butt of jokes when it withdrew from Iraq after insurgents threatened Filipinos in the region.

Arguably this difference is an off-shoot of the threat of Soviet invasion of Europe at the time the treaty was drafted. But the US was confident it could commit itself in this manner because it knew that Europe had the means to live up to its end of the alliance.

While Japan doesn't have this guarantee either, it dare not lose Japan as an ally.

Unless the Philippines strengthens its position -- both economically and militarily -- to a point where the US feels it can't afford to lose PH support, the value of the US-PH defense treaty all boils down to the opinions of the incumbent POTUS and his willing to use the US War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Quote
it is potentially a very dangerous time for PH, made potentially worse by a foreign policy of this government
that boils down to clumsily trying to play the US against CN,

From an optics standpoint, it does look clumsy. But if it works . . . optics don't matter. What happens behind closed doors do not necessarily reflect what is covered by media.

The US is not the only country this administration pitting against China. Japan and Korea are very much in the mix.

The US has recovered from the awkward position Ambassador Goldberg put the US when he expressing preference for a specific candidate in 2016, and now appears to take Duterte's antics in stride.

Relations with Japan and Korea don't appear to affect either, as Malacanang is careful to adopt "Asian messaging" with these partners.

horge

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I'd hope anyone who actually reads the MDT should emerge understanding that implementation
is pendent upon US political process, and I mean 'political' in the crudest sense.

The commonality between Japan, Korea, PH and yes, even NATO countries, is that their national
security is pendent upon US political process, and deteriorating relations between US and NATO
are the root and yet also the fruit of the EU's effort to form an EU army.

From an optics standpoint, it does look clumsy. But if it works . . . optics don't matter.

I think my point is that optics are extremely political; and politics dominates MDT implementation,
much moreso any attempt at MDT augmentation.

Otherwise, we're retreading ground you and I have walked before.
Can PH realistically approach Japan, SoKor or NATO in terms of economic and military weight,
anytime soon (since time is a luxury we do not have), for the US to think us indispensable?

More attainably... can PH realistically approach Japan or SoKor in terms of optically-appreciable
POLITICAL commitment to MDT with the US, or have we been optically undermining the same?

If we cannot make ourselves indispensable as treaty allies quickly, then we may have to bind
ourselves to something that IS indispensable to US interests, and something geographically
natural for us to bind to, and that is freedom of navigation in WPS.

Militarily, we have done next to nothing to do so, or even indicate that we care to do so.



adroth

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I'd hope anyone who actually reads the MDT should emerge understanding that implementation
is pendent upon US political process, and I mean 'political' in the crudest sense.

Quote
I think my point is that optics are extremely political; and politics dominates MDT implementation,
much moreso any attempt at MDT augmentation.

There will always be a political component to any relationship. But a healthy relationship is one that does not expect complete subservience on the other's part.

As you noted, the EU is willing to make its own army. Israel gets away with spying on the US, and so on. Yet . . . they remain allies.

The sooner the US gets accustomed to a Philippines that is willing to go its way on occasion the sooner the relationship matures. The better it will actually be for both countries. 

Furthermore, the sooner the Filipino people break out of a mendicant mindset that expects the US to everything for us, that is actually needs to weigh options instead of just "going along", sooner it will actually appreciate the "why" behind the importance of such relationships.

To achieve that goal, sometimes we need to bend the relationship in ways it was never bend before. Think the PMA bamboo analogy.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 09:45:12 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones,
 :)
h.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Let me re-order my responses so to communicate the message better.

Quote
If you feel it's not bad timing on PH's part (note I didn't say "If you feel it's GREAT timing", since
THAT would be straw), then we'll just have to disagree.

I would actually argue that the SND’s statements are not meant for the US alone (see further below), and is actually coupled with backend discussions that already put these statements into context.

Kim is not Goldberg, and Lorenzana’s ties run deep.

While I recognize that these are . . . interesting . . . post-WWII times for the US, if the goal is to completely avoid waves then there will never be a good time for anything significant.

'Naku ha, those are motherhood statements.  :)
"Complete subservience" is furthermore pure straw.
There's a gulf between mature disagreement, and the childish level of scorn towards both the
US and the PH-US MDT itself, that we've seen from the highest level of PH.gov.

Comments about subservience and mendicancy are related. See further below.

Quote
Quote
The sooner the US gets accustomed to a Philippines that is willing to go its way on occasion the sooner the relationship matures. The better it will actually be for both countries.

More motherhood statements and straw?  :)
The Philippines HAS been going its own way on occasion since the Clark and Subic boot-out, but
again, never with the childish level of scorn towards both the US and the PH-US MDT itself, that
we've seen from the highest level of PH.gov.

You are partly correct in saying that Philippines went its way with the bases boot-out. But it was a half-arsed departure from precedent because it was only the Senate that went its way. To the very end, Manglapus was pushing for an extension of the US bases treaty, and it was the Senate that rejected it.

The Executive department never wrapped its head around what that boot-out really meant. Which is why the government continued to fund the AFP conservatively, as though it still had full access to the Pentagon's coffers.

That, along with the organizational excesses that came with not having to worry about where funding came from, is what led to the force-deficiencies that modernization has been trying to patch for the past 20 years.

It also gave China the opening it needed in Mischief Reef, and the rest is history.

Quote
Quote
Furthermore, the sooner the Filipino people break out of a mendicant mindset that expects the US to everything for us, that is actually needs to weigh options instead of just "going along", sooner it will actually appreciate the "why" behind the importance of such relationships.

To achieve that goal, sometimes we need to bend the relationship in ways it was never bend before. Think the PMA bamboo analogy.

"Mendicancy" and a total reliance on the US ...are more motherhood and straw, adroth.
At best they are generalities that are only borderline related to the thread-topic, which is that
PH DND Sec wants to try to get a US commitment to include KIG under MDT coverage.

Quote
As you noted, the EU is willing to make its own army. Israel gets away with spying on the US, and so on. Yet . . . they remain allies.

Malacanang’s message has three audiences directed at three partly-intertwined problems.

The first problem is with the Filipino psyche. In US-PH relations, this problem manifest itself in the following schools-of-thought:

“The US cares about us and will never abandon us”
“The US is obligated to protect us”
“We must go along with everything the US says because we don’t want them to abandon us”
“The US abandoned us. How dare they”

The common denominator is treatment of the US as a foreign-policy crutch. Attitudes towards this crutch range from mendicant-acceptance to resentful dependence. Consider the following survey on Filipino impressions about the US.

Filipinos like the US even more than Americans do – Pew Research
Data from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project show Filipino respondents have positive views on the US, Americans, and US Presidents – even better than Americans themselves
Rappler.com
Published 6:26 PM, April 22, 2014
Updated 12:56 AM, April 23, 2014
https://www.rappler.com/nation/56085-philippines-usa-pew-research

< Edited >

Data from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project show a higher percentage of Filipinos surveyed – 85% to be exact – having a more "favorable" view of the American people. Americans come second in the survey, with 84% saying they have a "favorable" view of themselves.

< Edited >

74% of Filipinos surveyed, meanwhile, expressed confidence that China "will never replace the US as the world's leading superpower."

< Edited >

Not surprisingly, 81% of Filipinos surveyed saw the US as a "partner" of the Philippines.

< Edited >


This dependence doesn’t just manifest itself in normal common-tao discourse, it runs deep even in the AFP, where JUSMAG and FMS are still looked upon as substitutes for development of a proper procurement service. Easier to be told what you need, rather than doing the hard work to actually figure things out yourself . . . AND actually living with the choices that you made.

Beyond big ticket items, long-time service Timawans even lament how JUSMAG assistance is sought for things as mundane as per-diem for officers who go on overseas training . . . instead of properly funding such travel in-house through proper fiscal planning and responsibility.

How do you turn something from a crutch, into something is simply viewed as an advantageous arrangement? You make it optional. That’s what where the PMA bamboo analogy comes in.

You can’t straighten crooked piece of bamboo just by bending it to its preferred. If you did it will just bend back to its crooked state. You bend it beyond the preferred state, so that when it bends back, it springs to the intended shape.
Malacanang’s statements are hyperbolic at best and “childish” at worst. But at the end of the day, it is a “bamboo” solution for the domestic audience. You need, at the very least, to question the default assumptions of US-PH relations.

Uproar over the anti-US rhetoric is to be expected because it is unfamiliar, almost sacrilegious, in its content. But if we are to “move the needle” on this matter, something other than business-as-usual is called for.

Enter activities like exercises with Russia. No JUSMAG to provide guard rails, to remind the PN to make sure that these activities are actually logistically supportable. Mistakes will be made (e.g., BRP Davao del Sur reportedly ran into engineering issues coming back from Vladivostok). Lessons will have to be learned.

Integral to success is belief in our ability to succeed. At some point, an adolescent – even an overaged one -- has to ride the bike without training wheels . . . dive into the deep end of the pool before he/she is completely ready.

Second audience is China. Keep them off guard . . . and wondering about what our intentions really are. Buy time to shore up our positions. How? See here.

Third is the US. This is discussed further in the next section below. But the important bit to note for now is as follows:

If the out-of-left-field pronouncements of one administration is enough to damage US-PH relations, then the “special relationship” was never as strong as advertised in the first place.

The US now has a better ambassador than in early 2016, and knows how to take the administration’s statements in stride and ascertain commander’s intent.

The US is not as “evil” as its critics claim. Nothing ever is because there are ALWAYS two sides to everything. It is also not the charitable institution that many of its admirers believe. If there is an over abundance in admirers, there is a need to overplay the negative to move the needle towards a more balanced view of the real state of affairs

Quote
...and as you noted, the US-NATO treaty is tighter than US-PH. Hence Euro NATO members (as
"the EU") have a lot more rope to play with.

Not so PH, which has furthermore been careless
with its shorter cordage.

One can't upslope a weaker PH position to the durability of NATO.
One can, however, downslope the negative effects of US politics even on NATO, onto the much
weaker position of PH.

Israel? US backing for Israel is rather arguably stronger than even for NATO, and has been for
decades (Simple test lang: how many Israeli citizens in US Congress and Senate? Ask that for,
say, Belgians or any other European country? How about for Filipinos?) Upslope, downslope.

I am under no illusions about the Philippines having even remotely the same leverage as either NATO or Israel, or enjoys the same perception of value.

Past Philippine behavior hasn’t helped that perception one bit. We have been inept in multiple spheres. Not the least of which is how we live up to our defense obligations. No country has had a better front-row-seat to AFP fiascos than the US. Understandably, the AFP has had to contend with US stereotypes.

The US has its own assessments about where it believes the Philippines should direct its resources. Consequently, the assistance and advice it provides is geared towards specific shared concerns, and little else. See JUSMAG.

Our history has also shown that our compliance with the assessments has been predictably favorable. Our decisions have remained within loosely defined – or implied -- US-centric boundaries. As a Timawan in the DND once lamented during the Aquino administration . . . we were painfully hesitant to ask for anything meaningful. We were a known-quantity, that would take what was given.

Anything beyond this . . . the Philippines is on its own.

If it wants anything more, such as firmer assurances with regard to China, it needs to refresh the relationship. It needs to prompt a reassessment of existing pre-conceived notions and calculations. The first step in that is to actually ask for it.

Reception to such overtures can be shaped by how the stage is set. “Antics” that serve to implement the bamboo solution for domestic politics, simultaneously serve to signal a need for a rethink. It is an effort to shape perceptions of value. By signaling that we are willing to go it alone, we are, not only signaling our own house to get its own act together, we are also giving the US reason to refresh its assumptions.

It is, by the way, worth noting that the Philippines is very careful not to alienate our other local partners. This is a "drama" aimed at the one ally that know better than to think that we really want to cut ties.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 03:03:42 PM by adroth »

adroth

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Food for thought.

Like the Philippines, Japan had a mutual defense treaty with the US in 1951. But in 1960, Japan decided to revisit the treaty and drafted a new one. The US-JP alliance today is built upon the new treaty. See why Japan felt it was necessary

http://defenseph.net/drp/index.php?topic=4377.0

Merely re-thinking a treaty with the US doesn't mean that we intend to sever ties.

adroth

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How Washington’s ambiguity in South China Sea puts the Philippine-US alliance at a crossroads

Richard Heydarian writes that the Philippines could ‘downgrade’ its long-standing association with the US if Washington remains unclear on its commitments in disputed waters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2019, 3:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2019, 10:31pm

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2184390/how-washingtons-ambiguity-south-china-sea-puts-philippine-us?fbclid=IwAR3ofg4R13hmvmBn4PPvu2mVGzJ6lN7v5lkEkZ-X7OfpW8P0Zlm2EOQrUAg

< Edited >

The Philippine defence chief openly lamented Washington’s “ambivalent” position on the exact coordinates of its commitments to the Philippines, especially in light of the South China Sea disputes. He explicitly questioned whether the Mutual Defence Treaty is “still relevant to our security” instead of just serving “the interest of other nations”, namely the US.

The first problem with the alliance is the very text of the treaty. According to Article V of the MDT, “an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.”

Yet, Washington has equivocated on what exactly it considers to be part of “metropolitan” Philippines and the “island territories under its jurisdiction”.

To the Philippines’ horror, its ally largely stood by when China occupied Philippine-claimed Mischief Reef in 1994 as well as during the months-long Philippine-China naval stand-off over the Scarborough Shoal in 2012.

The US has repeatedly refused to clarify whether its treaty commitments apply in the South China Sea, where the Philippines is at loggerheads with several other claimant states.

Moreover, there are doubts whether the treaty provides expedient military help in the event of conflict between the Philippines and any hostile third party. According to Article IV of the treaty, each party “would act to meet the common dangers [in their area of jurisdiction] in accordance with its constitutional processes”.

< Edited >

By calling for a formal review, the Philippine defence establishment likely hopes to compel the US to revisit both the text and its interpretation of the MDT in ways that are more mutually satisfactory. In exchange, Manila may grant US troops expanded access to its military bases, particularly the Bautista and Basa airbases bordering the South China Sea.

< Edited >

adroth

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Related?

Pompeo to visit Philippines amid China flirtation
Agence France-Presse
Posted at Feb 23 2019 08:54 AM | Updated as of Feb 23 2019 08:55 AM

https://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/02/23/19/pompeo-to-visit-philippines-amid-china-flirtation?fbclid=IwAR2mdiKVv-nmQpbsQYEAw1poxcezirOixxKTweURPZCrP_vxW6JXh2O3IVk

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel next week to the Philippines, the State Department said Friday, as the former US colony increasingly flirts with regional giant China.

Pompeo will travel to Manila on February 28 and March 1 for talks with President Rodrigo Duterte, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said.

The top US diplomat will be paying the visit on his way back from Hanoi where he is joining President Donald Trump for his closely watched second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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tagalacion

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Thanks for the great discussion between Sirs H and A.

However, I can't help but agree with H on his point that disputed WPS features held by PH may not be covered, especially KIG, because those were acquired after the MDT was signed in the 50's.

Of course, I sincerely doubt the US would've wanted to include KIG (or any other WPS PH feature) into the MDT anyway, regardless of whether those claims pre-dated the treaty or not.  After all, didn't we just lose Scarborough Shoal?

This shoal was part of PH maps since Spanish times and thus our claims to it clearly pre-dated the MDT but it didn't matter.  Basically, we lost it because most of our countrymen still can't wrap their heads around the idea that PH interests are not US interests.

We need to look at these things from American eyes.  So PH lost a shoal?  So what?

Contrast that with when China tried to pull the same sh*t against Japan in the ECS.  Remember how quickly the US came in to assure Japan - and China - that the US was all-in?

This unambiguous US response was necessary because there's clearly a history of animosity there.  The only thing more dangerous than a provocative China is a seething Japan that feels alone and unsupported.

Did the US stance mean Japanese interests equal their own?  Of course not.  But I doubt it's in the American interest to endanger their economic interests via any shooting war in the Pacific - something the Japs were more than capable of delivering had China not backed off.

So as far as the US is concerned, why not remain ambiguous about their commitments to PH?  After all, what can PH even do to change the status quo without US backing?  Nothing.  Zilch.  Zero.  Nada.

I know this is preaching to the choir but if we want clarity from them cowboys, we better arm ourselves to the teeth.  But until then, forget it.

adroth

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South China Sea covered by PH-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty – Pompeo

'Any armed attack on any Philippine forces, aircraft, or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under Article 4 of our Mutual Defense Treaty,' US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assures Manila

https://www.rappler.com/nation/224668-pompeo-says-south-china-sea-covered-philippines-us-mutual-defense-treaty?fbclid=IwAR0fZy3St0UgDEk2Iqq0V1odBOEZ9wml9tKlBhWvLYaDKaQng-5r5vNw_Fk

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adroth

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What’s an attack? Lorenzana wants it defined in PHL-US defense treaty
Published March 1, 2019 6:47pm
By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/686615/what-s-an-attack-lorenzana-wants-it-defined-in-phl-us-defense-treaty/story/?utm_source=GMANews&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2mhxF2uuKPJknZ4UggjlKYGIbWKkp8Fm4-wBmlDt6-c1-OepYVBXTPTKA

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday insisted that the country and United States needed to review the Mutual Defense Treaty they signed in 1951.

Lorenzana made the remark after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that the treaty obligated the US to aid the Philippines if the latter's forces were attacked in the South China Sea.

The defense chief said the treaty should also define what constituted an attack.

"'Yung sinasabi kasi sa MDT, attack sa West Philippine Sea. Hindi naman tayo in-attack. Nangkuha lang ng island. E, ano 'yun? Saan 'yun? Where will that fall under? Those are the ambiguities," Lorenzana told reporters.

"Hindi violent attack e. Hindi shooting war, kung 'di kamkamin lupa mo... 'Yun 'yung ambiguous sa akin, e," he added.

Pompeo on Friday said the US would come to the Philippines’ aid if it came under attack in the disputed South China Sea.

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