- The Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs has openly declared he will not hesitate to call on Washington DC for help if China attacks their naval vessels.
- Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr’s statement comes after China accused Philippines of “illegal provocation” after the former asserted its rights on the controversial disputed waters.
- Locsin’s declarations are remarkably different compared to the speech given by President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation address.
The Philippines will invoke its defense treaty with the United States of America if China attacks its naval vessels, said a top Filipino official. This statement marks the first time that the administration under President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted it will seek Washington’s assistance if Beijing turns to violence as the two countries assert their rights on the disrupted waters.
In an August 26 interview with ANC News’ morning program ‘Headstart,’ Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said that the Philippines will still continue with its air patrols over the South China Sea, despite China tagging it as “illegal provocations.”
As Locsin told host Karen Davila:
“They can call it illegal provocations, you can’t change their minds. They already lost the arbitral award.”
He was, however, quick to add that he will immediately call the US government for help “if something happens that is beyond incursion but is in fact an attack on say a Filipino naval vessel.”
When asked about the specifics of his statement, Locsin distanced himself and just said he “will not discuss that because the essence of deterrence theory is uncertainty.”
In his State of the Nation address last July, it can be remembered that President Duterte, who has often considered China as a close friend of the country, said:
“We have to go to war. And I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can but I cannot… China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms. We do not have it. So, it’s as simple as that. They are in possession of the property…so what can we do?”
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