PH-US MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY MAY BE TACKLED IN POMPEO VISIT
MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday said that the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between Washington and Manila may be among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo to the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that it was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who revealed that the 67-year old defense pact may be discussed during their meeting.
Pompeo will be in the country from Feb. 28 to March 1 to pay a courtesy call on President Rodrigo R. Duterte and meet Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. to discuss issues of mutual interest, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The MDT, the country’s sole and longest running defense pact with another nation, contains eight articles requiring the two Pacific allies to provide aid in case of an armed attack against either Washington or Manila by an external party.
The Department of National Defense (DND) first floated the review calls in December 2018, citing the need to make the deal more relevant to the region’s changing security environment.
Panelo said that other issues of mutual interest that may be discussed during their meeting include security and terrorism.
“Any subject matter that is mutually beneficial to both countries will be discussed. Agenda? Mutual concerns like security, terrorism,” Panelo said.
Asked if issues on the South China Sea may be raised, Panelo neither confirmed nor denied this.
“Kung i-raise ni Secretary Locsin, di mababanggit ‘yan (If Secretary Locsin will raise it, it might be mentioned),” he said. (PNA)
Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Vox