US to help PHL respond accordingly if China occupies PHL-held island in WPS

The United States will help Philippines respond accordingly if China invades Pagasa Island, a Philippine-held island in West Philippine Sea.

“I really don’t want to address hypotheticals but I think there should be no misunderstanding or lack of clarity on the spirit and the nature of our commitment,” US Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs (APSA) Randall Schriver said during a roundtable with reporters at the US Embassy in Manila on August 16.

“We’ll be a good ally, and we’ll help the Philippines respond accordingly and beyond that I wouldn’t get into specifics,” he said.

ASD for APSA Schriver is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)) and the Secretary of Defense on international security strategy and policy on issues of DoD interest that relate to the nations and international organizations of the Asia-Pacific, its governments and defense establishments, and for oversight of security cooperation programs, including Foreign Military Sales, in the region.

Schriver visited the Philippines from August 15 to 17 to reinforce the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and to the Philippines, a close friend, partner, and ally, the US Embassy said.

In Manila, Schriver met with Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Carlito Galvez Jr., Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Enrique Manalo.

“This was my first visit to the Philippines as Assistant Secretary of Defense, so this was a good opportunity for me to meet with the leadership here,” said Schriver. “It’s an honor for us to be considered a friend, partner, and ally of the Philippines.”

Schriver discussed with Filipino officials the value of multilateral military exercises like Balikatan and KAMANDAG and their contributions to the strength and interoperability of the US and Philippine militaries.

“Schriver also emphasized the value of continuing frequent subject matter expert exchanges and joint training events between both countries’ militaries, the continuing U.S. Special Operations Forces support of AFP counter terrorism efforts in Mindanao, cooperation to counter violent extremism, the United States’ support of AFP modernization efforts, and the increasing importance of the U.S.-Philippine alliance to stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” the US Embassy said.