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U.S. vows to assist Philippine Navy, not to interfere in South China Sea dispute


08:24, May 03, 2012

MANILA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The United States has assured the Philippines in a recent bilateral meeting that it would provide assistance to its maritime defense but refused to get involved in the Philippines' dispute with other countries over the South China Sea.

The assurance was contained in a joint statement issued after a meeting Monday in Washington D.C. between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and their Philippine counterparts, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

During the one-day meeting, the two countries also stressed the importance of their Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) signed in l951 but was vague on whether the pact would oblige the United States to aid its ally in case the tension in the South China Sea worsens.

After the Washington meeting, Del Rosario said "in terms of U. S. commitment, I think the United States has been very clear that they do not get involved in territorial disputes, but that they are firm in terms of taking a position for a peaceful settlement of the disputes in the South China Sea."

The U.S. Congressional Research Service, in a recent report prepared for members and committees of Congress, said the MDT left room for different interpretations.

Some Philippine officials have said the treaty obliges the United States to come to the defense of the Philippines if there is an attack on its territorial waters.

However, some interpretations limit U.S. intervention to a foreign military attack on the main Philippine islands or upon Philippine military forces.

After the two-plus-two meeting Monday, U.S. Secretary Clinton said that although the U.S. voiced concerns over developments in the South China Sea, particularly in the Huangyan Island, it does not take sides in competing sovereignty claims in the area.

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Reader at 2012-05-03206.125.72.*
It comes as no surprise that the United States is scrambling to find an out in the military alliance treaty. After all China is not Iraq, or Afghanistan where the military is non existant and the murder of innocents can be conducted without any serious resistance. When faced with a real military power like the great PLA the rats run for cover.

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