‘Untapped weapon’: Philippine leaders warn China by touting defense treaty with US

A standoff involving a fleet of Chinese maritime militia ships in disputed waters has raised the prospect of Philippine officials invoking a defense treaty with the United States, according to defense officials and lawmakers.

“Both parties are committed to undertake their obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Philippine Department of National Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said Thursday. “As the situation in the West Philippine Sea evolves, we keep all our options open in managing the situation, including leveraging our partnerships with other nations such as the United States.”

President Joe Biden and then-President Donald Trump’s administrations have affirmed that the 1951 pact applies to
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