Offers complete support against any country in the world if Philippines buys $895.6 billion in US treasury bonds owned by China.
(Manila) US Ambassador Harry Thomas reassured Filipinos at the launch of the National Renewable Energy Plan (NREP) yesterday that the United States and the Philippines remain allies amidst growing concern that the US might renege on its obligation to the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of the two countries.
Article V of the ‘Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America’ states that “an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties.”
Earlier this week more than a few members of the Philippine Senate expressed doubt on whether the Philippines could count on the United States for support if tensions with China over the disputed Spratly Islands escalated.
“Can we count on them? I do not know. We better ask them, can we count on you?” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said last Monday.
In his speech yesterday, Thomas reaffirmed that an alliance between the US and the Philippines exists but failed to directly address questions on the nature of support, if any, that can be expected of his country.
“We are allies. We will continue to work with each other in all issues including the South China Sea and Spratlys.” Thomas said.
Asked later to clarify the extent of American support that can be expected by the Philippines, the ambassador didn’t say:
“Just don’t go against countries we owe billions of debt to. And don’t call the South China Sea by other names like ‘Western Philippine Sea.’ It’s very disrespectful to the Chinese. Otherwise you have our full support.”
China currently holds around $895.6 billion in US treasury bonds and is the largest foreign holder of US debt. China is also one of the largest trading partners of the United States ranking 3rd in terms of US exports (6.48% of total US exports) and 1st in terms of US imports (19.3% of total US imports).