Philippines says did not consider invoking US pact over recent clash with Chinese coast guard

A South China Sea confrontation this week, in which Philippine naval vessels were rammed and armed by Chinese coast guard personnel, does not end Manila’s mutual defense agreement with the United States, according to President Ferdinand Marcos ‘ spokesperson on Friday ( Jun 21 ).

When asked if Manila would beg Washington to respect the 1951 agreement, executive director Lucas Bersamin replied,” We are not yet ready to consider this as an armed attack.”

The agreement requires both parties to come to the other’s army in case of an “armed assault” against vessels, aircraft, defense and beach protect anywhere in the Pacific theater, which Washington says includes the South China Sea.

As they stopped a Philippine navy attempt to resupply a Filipino garrison on a derelict warship on Monday, Chinese coast guard sailors brandished knives, an axe, and other weapons, seizing guns and damaging other equipment.

The Chinese coast guard seizes or destroys Philippine equipment, including guns, in the incident, which reportedly involved a Filipino sailor who lost a thumb, according to the Philippine military.

Beijing insisted its coast guard behaved in a “professional and restrained” way and blamed Manila for the confrontation, alleging the Philipines had been trying” to sneak in building materials, but also tried to smuggle in military equipment”.