US warns: Attack on Philippine vessels, aircraft will trigger response under 1951 Mutual defense accord

US warns: Attack on Philippine vessels, aircraft will trigger response under 1951 Mutual defense accord


The United States of America, the country’s oldest and only military ally has called on to China to cease its provocative acts in the South China Sea and gave a stern warning that an armed attack on the Philippine military will trigger the decades old 1951 mutual defense treaty.

United States Secretary of State Anthony Bilken made the statement coinciding  with the 5th year anniversary of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive "nine-dash-line" claim over a large part of the South China Sea.

“The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea,” Blinken said, referring to a Trump-era rejection of virtually all of China’s sweeping claims in the resource-rich waters.

BRP Sierra Madre, a World War 2 LST 542-class tank landing ship originally built for the United States Navy.The Philippine government deliberately had her run aground on Second Thomas Shoal( Ayungin Shoal) in the Spratly's in 1999 in response to the Chinese reclamation of Mischief Reef.Since then a detachment of Filipino Marines have been stationed on board the Sierra madre to provide a continual military presence at the site.The BRP is still considered a commissioned Philippine Navy vessel( photo by

“We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.

Article IV of the 70-year-old defense accord states the following:

Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations, Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

“Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea,” Blinken said, accusing Beijing of continuing to “coerce and intimidate” Southeast Asian coastal states. 

“We call on [the People’s Republic of China] to abide by its obligations under international law, cease its provocative behavior, and take steps to reassure the international community that it is committed to the rules-based maritime order that respects the rights of all countries, big and small,” he said.



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