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Philippines Set To Renew Defence Treaty with the US amid South China Sea Dispute

Officials from the US and Philippines held talks over the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT). Both Phillippines and the USA are planning to review and may also revise the treaty due to ongoing threats the Manila faces in the South China Sea from a belligerent China.

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The Philippines ambassadors including Enrique Manalo and Cardozo Luna along with US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said that the outline of the proposal has been sent for final approval. At the conference to promote US-Phillippine relations, Luna asked to revise the treaty to make it vital in relation to modern geopolitical issues including the existing disputes with China in the South China Sea.

The Philliphines administrative officials informed that there is a lot of uncertainty associated with the agreement as it does not define whether or not the US will keep its promise of defending Phillippines in case a third country attack Manila.

The US Ambassador to the Phillippines, Sung Kim said the US has shown friendly gesture by giving assurance for reviewing the agreement. He also pointed out that the US and Phillippines will extend cooperation through the Visiting Forces and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement.

“We would welcome taking a close look at the treaty to see whether we can make any adjustments to make it even better than what it is now,” Kim informed the media.

The Philippines Ambassador, Manalo said that the Philippines is trying hard to push US-Philippines relations to the next level and the same intensity is visible in the US commitments.

The strategic conference was organised by the US Embassy, the Asia Foundation and the Ateneo School of Government. The conference marked as the meeting point for policymakers to share and focus on defence cooperation, trade, technology, and infrastructure trends to enhance US-Philippines relations.

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