THE defense alliance between the Philippines and the United States (US) “continues to grow in the 21ist century” as it charts a “new vision for our critical partnership,” US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Wednesday during the 60th anniversary of the Manila-Washington Mutual Defense Treaty.
“Today we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which will serve as the cornerstone of our relationship and a source of stability in the region,” Nuland said in a statement.
The Mutual Defense Treaty, signed in 1951, requires both countries to defend each other in situations of external armed attacks.
The treaty is also being imposed by the Philippines in its recent political tension with China caused by the overlapping territorial claims on the Spratly Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The Spratly Islands is a group of islets, atolls and reefs that is being claimed in whole by China, and in part by the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.
Over the past months, Manila lodged several diplomatic protests against alleged Chinese intrusions in the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Beijing denied such allegations, maintaining their sovereignty over the whole West Philippine Sea.
“Whether we are working together to combat extremism, help victims of natural disasters, or stand up for human rights, the people of our countries share a mutual desire to build a better world for future generations,” Nuland said.
“The Philippines and the United States share a deep and abiding friendship forged in a history of common sacrifice,” she added.
Nuland said that the many Filipinos who served alongside American servicemen and women during World War II, as well as the veterans buried at the Manila American Cemetery, “bear testament to our shared past.” (BCVB/Sunnex)