Manila, Philippines — In response to the “serious escalation” in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines and the United States have pledged to intensify their military engagement with a resolute statement from US Pres. Joe Biden reinforcing the commitment to the alliance.
Pres. Biden made his stand unequivocally clear during a press conference held on Thursday underlining the commitment of the United States to the Philippines.
“I want to be clear — I want to be very clear: The US defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad. Any attack on Filipino aircraft, vessels, or armed forces will invoke our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines,” he stressed, providing a robust assurance of support in the wake of China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.
The statement follows a recent event in which Chinese vessels impeded a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on October 22, resulting in collisions with Philippine ships.
Meanwhile, during a phone conversation between Philippine defense chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and US defense chief Lloyd Austin III, both leaders commended recent bilateral cooperation and committed to expanding their bilateral military activities.
This collaborative approach aims to enhance the security and stability of the region.
“The Secretaries commended recent bilateral military cooperation, including the bilateral sail last month off the coast of Palawan, and committed to increase the pace and scope of U.S.-Philippines engagements,” as stated in the readout from both defense departments.
Austin and Teodoro also emphasized the need to “redouble efforts to strengthen bilateral coordination, interoperability, and support for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” highlighting their shared commitment to bolster the military capabilities of the Philippines in the face of evolving security challenges.
Secretary Austin reinforced US support for the Philippines following the China Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous obstruction of a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal on October 22, the readout also states.
“The Secretaries reaffirmed that the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries’ public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces – to include the Coast Guard