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The Philippines-US Alliance at 70

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The Philippines-US Alliance at 70
The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty became the most important element in the Philippine-U.S. alliance. How can it remain relevant in a changing Indo-Pacific?
By Renato Cruz De Castro
September 01, 2021

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In December 2018, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared during a press briefing that the Department of National Defense (DND) was reviewing the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and its relevance in the 21st century. He said that the time had arrived for the MDT “to be revisited, given that its provisions were formulated in the early 1950s.” Lorenzana explained: “We believe it is time to sit down with our U.S. counterparts and revisit the terms of our alliance. We are partners. We have deep historical ties. We must clearly define our roles and responsibilities when the need arises to be joined in arms.”

The call for a review of the MDT stemmed from Lorenzana’s and the defense establishment’s deep-seated apprehension that the Philippines might be dragged into an armed confrontation between the United States and China. This worry centered on the two powers’ military activities in the South China Sea, namely Chinese construction and fortification of several artificial islands and the U.S. Navy’s repeated freedom of navigation operations and overflights in the disputed waters. There were also anxieties within the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) about abandonment by their ally, despite promises from U.S. officials that the MDT is an “ironclad” commitment that the United States will honor, even in the contested islands in the South China Sea.


LINK -> https://thediplomat.com/2021/08/the-philippines-us-alliance-at-70/
 

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