Biden says US will defend the Philippines if China attacks

Rising tensions in the South China Sea have led to a boat collision. Photo Courtesy: Reuters

Kathmandu: US President Joe Biden has warned China that the US will defend the Philippines in case of any attack in the disputed South China Sea.

The comments come days after two collisions between Filipino and Chinese vessels in the contested waters.

Biden reiterated his “ironclad” defence commitment to the Philippines.

Manila has contested Chinese claims to the waters, cutting floating barriers and inviting media to film what it calls Beijing’s dangerous moves at sea.

Biden’s statement on the South China Sea on Wednesday was his strongest since tensions between Beijing and Manila heated up in recent months.

Signed in 1951, the Mutual Defense Treaty binds the US and the Philippines, its former colony, into defending each other in the event of an armed attack.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the US had “no right to get involved in a problem between China and the Philippines”.

On Sunday, the Philippines said China’s “dangerous manoeuvres” had led to a collision between a China coast guard ship and a Filipino supply boat in an area that falls inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In a separate incident, Manila said a Chinese militia boat “bumped” a Philippine coast guard vessel.

The Filipino boats were on their way to a crumbling navy warship that Manila has marooned at the Second Thomas Shoal to reinforce its claims.

(News Source: BBC)