DND seeks to review treaty between US, PH


Nearly seven decades after the signing of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Philippine government, the defense department will seek to review the Aug. 30, 1951 accord to solicit Washington’s position with regards the dispute in the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the planned review of the MDT will seek Washington’s specific stand as to whether the Philippines can count on US support in the event hostilities break out following China’s occupation of the islets and reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
“We are thinking about that also… we really wanted to review that also. I think we have been discussing that with our staff inside the Department of National Defense (DND),” said Lorenzana during his yearend news briefing on Thursday

He said the review of the MDT and its provisions have already been raised with US officials a month ago in Hawaii by a team headed by Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.
“I think, it was Undersecretary Luna, who was invited to Hawaii to attend conference where he said maybe we should start reviewing our MDT, yes he is,” the defense chief said.

“We are going to (review it)… we’ll need to look at the provisions there, discuss with the end view of reviewing to make it stronger or whatever,” he added.
Lorenzana said that the islets and shoals in the WPS should be covered by the treaty, which obligates the US to militarily respond to the aid of the country once it is attacked by other states.
At present, some of the country’s islets and shoals in the West Philippine Sea were being challenged aggressively by China which has already converted some of them into military bases.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the ongoing territorial dispute could be a considered as a form of external threat.