Philippines: West Philippine Sea issue ‘haunts’ Delfin Lorenzana every day

  • The country’s issues with China over the West Philippine Sea remain a problem that haunts Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana every day.
  • He said there is currently a stalemate on the matter of who occupies which island in the region, though President Duterte’s strategy of not provoking the Chinese appears to be the right decision.
  • The defense chief, however, noted that freedom of navigation still exists in the West Philippine Sea as China does not prevent the Philippines from moving around. Lorenzana said Duterte’s decision not to confront China appears to be the correct strategy because China is really stronger and ready for anything.
  • Nevertheless, Lorenzana is gunning for a review of the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.
  • The Defense chief said the MDT covers only “metropolitan Philippines,” which does not seem to cover some of the disputed areas such as the Kalayaan islands.
  • However, UST Political Science Department chairperson Dennis C. Coronacion said it is impossible to include areas beyond the metropolitan Philippines in security coverage as stated in the accord.
  • He added, “I don’t think the US Congress would approve a review of the MDT to include territorial disputes. They would argue that getting entangled in territorial disputes would be against their national interest. In other words, it’s a hard sell.”
  • “US will honor its commitment with us within the parameters set by the MDT. But, it will avoid any proposal to widen the scope of the MDT, such as that made by Sec. Lorenzana, since it will be against US national interest,” he said.

External Link: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/12/27/1880165/west-philippine-sea-issue-haunts-delfin-lorenzana-every-day

External Link: https://www.bworldonline.com/treaty-review-to-strengthen-us-ph-alliance/

27-Dec-2018


Leave a Reply