The United States reiterated its commitment to defend the Philippines in the event of an armed attack under a 1951 treaty, following clashes between Chinese ships and Filipino vessels near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea.
The incidents occurred off Second Thomas Shoal, with Chinese ships blocking and colliding with two Filipino vessels. Although there were no reported injuries, a Philippine coast guard ship and a navy supply boat sustained damage. The Philippines, along with other neighboring countries, has contested China’s extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held an emergency meeting with top military officials to address the situation.
The Philippines has sought U.S. military support amid rising incidents with China. U.S. officials warned that the country is obligated to defend the Philippines under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty if Filipino forces come under armed attack, including those of its coast guard, anywhere in the South China Sea.
Washington expressed solidarity with its Philippine allies and criticized China’s dangerous maneuvers, which violated international law.