THE STRATBASE ADR Institute (ADRi), in a statement backing Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., said it sees no need to review the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.
“Locsin is confident about the assurances given by (Secretary of State Michael R.) Pompeo and that there is no need to review or modify the MDT,” the ADRi said in a statement, Sunday.
Mr. Pompeo during his visit on March 1 assured the Philippine government of its commitment to defend the country in case of armed attacks in the South China Sea, saying this is within the jurisdiction of the MDT.
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana had raised the need to review the decades-old MDT, seeing its ambiguity may result in “confusion.” But Mr. Locsin argued that vagueness in the treaty provides a “deterrence” to China’s growing aggression in the SCS.
“The remarks of the foreign affairs secretary imply that the long-standing US-Philippines alliance remains strong despite the apparent growing influence of China in the Philippines,” Stratbase ADRi President Victor Andres C. Manhit said.
“There is no real substitute for the support of the US or its allies in this domain, making it an especially important window of opportunity for the US to showcase what it can offer,” Mr. Manhit also said.
He added: “Nevertheless, as different countries have different assessments of their internal threats, the US defense approach may need to be more multifaceted if it wants to use defense engagement as a way to get more states to support its continued presence.”
“The Philippines should attain maritime security by considering the potential benefits of cooperation among the US, Japan, Australia and India. Such cooperation should also extend beyond the four democratic countries and collaborate with like-minded democracies that adhere to the rules-based order,” Mr. Manhit also said. — Charmaine A. Tadalan