Locsin says reviewing defense pact with America pointless without bases
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said it was “pointless” to review the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States since there were no American military bases in the country anymore.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he acknowledged he would have wanted the 68-year old MDT to clearly state that the United States will readily help if the Philippines comes under foreign attack.
But he also said the Philippines would not need an MDT if its leaders had “gonads of steel and a million-man army, so you can be attacked but never defeated.”
“Bit pointless to touch MDT without US bases, thanks to 1987 Con-com [constitutional commission] which I insulted for banning US nukes and bases,” Locsin said when asked to comment on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s call for a review of the 1951 MDT.
“But MDT can be improved by making any aggressive move versus US or PH a trigger for all-out war without need of aproval of either Congress. A good war sanctifies any cause,” he continued.
In a news briefing last week, Lorenzana called for a review of the 1951 MDT “to make it stronger” in view of the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
He said the United States should give a definitive stand that it would come to the Philippines’ aid in case of a conflict with other claimants over territorial incursions.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, while China claims almost the entire sea.
Locsin said US presence was still a “deterrent” against China’s aggression in the South China Sea, but a “weakening one” since the US was involved in various wars.
“Maybe we need to jump-start it [MDT]. But US is our only possible ally. You can never rationally ally with the greatest threat to yourself because of proximity. Best ally is far away but with power to strike for you at a long distance,” he added. —WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP
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