Thu Jan 10, 2019, 11:28 AM

Philippines mulls parting strategic ways with America

In a move that threatens to roil Philippine-American bilateral relations, Manila has called for a review of the long-time allies’ 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the bedrock of the two sides’ strategic ties.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a former Philippine defense attaché in Washington, is leading the effort to revisit one of the oldest strategic alliances in Asia.

Any move to scrap the MDT could have wide-reaching implications for regional security, including in the hotly contested South China Sea, where the US and China are in an increasingly tense tussle for control of the waterway.

Manila’s surprise move was announced shortly after the Balangiga Bells, taken by US troops as war booty over a century ago, were returned to the Philippines, a gesture some saw as atonement for atrocities the US committed during its colonial rule of the nation.

Observers had thought that the symbolic return, long sought by Manila, would put relations on a firmer footing after recent slippage on various issues. Significantly, or so it seemed, then US defense chief Jim Mattis personally facilitated the bells’ handover.

President Rodrigo Duterte has taken an often antagonistic approach towards the US in pursuit of what he has termed as a more “independent” foreign policy. At the same time, his government has moved closer economically and strategically to China.

It is not immediately clear what the Philippines aims to achieve from the move, but the treaty review reflects growing frustration in Manila over a perceived fundamental ambivalence built into the bilateral alliance.

In particular, there is nothing in MDT that explicitly guarantees expedient and unconditional American support in the event of a conflict between the Philippines and other claimant states in the South China Sea, including with China.

2 replies, 138 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Philippines mulls parting strategic ways with America (Original post)
Troll2 Jan 2019 OP
Gunslinger201 Jan 2019 #1
Banshee 3 Actual Jan 2019 #2

Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 11:36 AM

1. Next Time Japan invades call China

Oh that’s right, the Japanese steamrolled them too

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Troll2 (Original post)

Thu Jan 10, 2019, 12:30 PM

2. Duterte wants to be a Chicom lackey, so be it

His islands will be claimed by China and he cant do shit about it

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink