Palace: US consistent in commitment to help PH amid territorial dispute
The United States has always been consistent in its commitment to help the Philippines, Malacañang said on Thursday after the US renewed its “ironclad” pledge to the nation.
“Kaya’t makikita natin na sa daloy ng panahon ay naging consistent naman at masasabi naman siguro natin na matibay yung yung pagsasamang yan dahil mahigit limang dekada na nakalipas mula doon sa kauna-unahang Mutual Defense Treaty,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told reporters in a press briefing.
In a meeting in Hawaii with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Wednesday, his US counterpart Ashton Carter reiterated their “ironclad” commitment to the Philippines amid the tense disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). It was a repeat of President Barack Obama’s statement during his visit to the Philippines in April last year.
Coloma cited the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement as some of the significant developments in the US and Philippine bilateral relations.
In the same meeting in Hawaii, the US has also called for a stop to China’s massive reclamation activities in the disputed waterway, which is also a major trade route.
In recent months, China’s construction activities appear to be military installations and airstrips in the artificial islands. They have also challenged US and Philippine military planes on patrol in the disputed seas.
“Matagal nang posisyon ng ating bansa ‘yung hindi pagkakaroon ng anumang kilos o hakbang tulad ng isinagawa at isinasagawang reclamation dahil ang ating posisyon diyan, habang hindi pa nagkakaroon ng clear-cut ruling ang arbitral tribunal hinggil sa tamang interpretasyon ng Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) ay dapat manatili ’yung status quo,” Coloma said. RC