An armed attack against Philippines will trigger our MDT obligations – Biden admin

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United States Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price has reiterated that under the Biden administration US obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) will trigger if Philippine military, public vessels or aircraft will be attacked in the Pacific including South China Sea.

“As we have stated before, an armed attack against the Philippines armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” Price said when asked if the Biden administration continues to stand by what had been the Trump administration’s stated position, that the US will regard any attack on any Philippines territory as covered under the US-Philippines MDT.

Price quoted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement On March 28, “United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC’s maritime militia amassing at [Whitsun Reef] – we will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order.”

“We share the concerns of our Philippine allies regarding the continued reported amassing of PRC maritime militia near Whitsun Reef, and we have seen the reports that vessels have also spread to other parts of the South China Sea. We have reiterated our strong support for the Philippines and we have called on the PRC to abide by the 2016 arbitral tribunal award under the Law of the Sea Convention, which is final and legally binding on all parties,” Price said.