US Secretary of State informed that the US has pledged to defend the Philippines against armed attack in the disputed South China Sea. The US also warned the Philippines and other nations against using technology from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
After meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “Beijing’s actions in waters also claimed by the Southeast Asian nation and other neighbours were a threat. China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States.”
“As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defence obligations under Article 4 of our Mutual Defence Treaty”, Pompeo said.
The first time a US official has publicly stated Washington’s commitment to defending its ally. In August 1951, a mutual defense treaty was signed between representatives of the Philippines and the United States. As per this mutual defence treaty, Manila and US committed to coming to each other’s aid in case of an armed attack in the Pacific area. The United States has said it is not taking sides in the dispute over waters claimed by China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Responding to Pompeo, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said:” Beijing was committed to keeping peace and stability in the region. He added that for countries outside the region such as the United States… it is not necessary to be deliberately provocative, or stir up trouble.”
“Manila was “very confident” in US backing. Pompeo also warned the Philippines and other nations against using technology from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei”, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said.
US officials suspect China could use Huawei’s products to spy on foreign governments. Although, the company denies the allegations. “We want to make sure that the world has their eyes wide open as to the risks of having that technology be part of the infrastructure or backbone or networks”, Pompeo said. In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said: “The government and people of any country probably know better what is good for their country than anyone else”.
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