China unfazed by Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
China unfazed by Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty
This handout photo taken on March 23, 2024 and released by the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (PCG/BFAR) on March 25, 2024 shows an aerial view of BRP Datu Pagbuaya as it sails from the Philippine-held Thitu Island sheltered port, in the Spratly Islands, in the disputed South China Sea.
Philippine Coast Guard / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the United States will not affect China’s position on the South China Sea issue, the Chinese embassy in Manila said in a statement yesterday.

“The US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty will not move us a bit from our will and resolve,” the Chinese embassy said.

China issued the statement in response to fresh assurances made by US President Joe Biden that any attack on a Philippine aircraft, vessel or armed forces in the South China Sea will invoke the treaty.

“The US is not a party to the South China Sea issue and is not in the position of interfering in issues between China and the Philippines,” the embassy stated.

“The recent tension in the South China Sea would not have occurred without the US egging on the Philippines. China is determined to uphold our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,” it added.

On the issue of the BRP Sierra Madre and Ayungin Shoal, China maintained that the old grounded warship of the Philippine Navy should be removed.

But while the vessel is there, China said it will allow the delivery of food and other basic necessities but not construction materials.

“On how to deal with the current situation at Ren’ai Jiao, China’s position is clear-cut. Before the warship is towed away, if the Philippines needs to send living necessities, out of humanitarianism, China is willing to allow it if the Philippines informs China in advance and after on-site verification is conducted. China will monitor the whole process,” the Chinese embassy said.

“If the Philippines sends large amount of construction materials to the warship and attempts to build fixed facilities and permanent outpost, China will not accept it and will resolutely stop it in accordance with law and regulations to uphold China’s sovereignty and the sanctity of the DOC (Declaration of Conduct),” the statement read.

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