The US authorities are committed to the provisions of the mutual defense treaty with the Philippines, said State Department Chief Antony Blinken, writes CNN. He said Washington is prepared to defend Manila in the event of an attack on the republic's forces in the South China Sea.
"An armed attack on Philippine Armed Forces public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke the US Mutual Defense commitments under that treaty," Blinken said at a news conference following a meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The US secretary of state made the statement amid rising tensions around Taiwan because of China's large-scale military exercises near the disputed island. The maneuvers were launched by Beijing in response to a visit to Taipei by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi without the consent of the PRC. The trip provoked an extremely negative reaction from China, despite attempts by the White House to downplay its importance in reducing the risks of escalation in the region.
At the same time, as CNN points out, cooperation with the Philippines is important for the US because Manila can be called a fulcrum in the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Beijing. According to the channel, Marcos Jr. will have the difficult task of balancing cooperation with both countries.