US reaffirms ‘ironclad’ commitment to PH amid maritime disputes in South China Sea

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2022 04:44 PM

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana, during the former's visit to Manila in July 2021. Photo courtesy of Sec. Delfin Lorenzana's Facebook account.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana, during the former's visit to Manila in July 2021. Photo courtesy of Sec. Delfin Lorenzana's Facebook account.

MANILA – United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirmed his country’s commitment to Philippine security when he met with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at the Pentagon Tuesday (Manila time).

In a statement, the U.S. Defense Department reiterated that America's commitment to Philippine security is ironclad, and that the two countries' mutual defense treaty commitments extend to Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft in the South China Sea.

The Philippines has been fighting off Chinese incursions in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, despite the 2016 ruling of a United Nations-backed arbitration court that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea. 

Austin and Lorenzana affirmed the vital importance of ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea, the US Defense Department said.

They agreed to strengthen their MDT commitments through the development of bilateral defense guidelines, enhance maritime cooperation, and improve interoperability and information sharing by exercising new capabilities. 

They likewise discussed the importance of acting in unison to condemn Russian aggression and stand behind Ukraine.

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