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Clarify Mutual Defense Treaty

05:01 AM March 12, 2019

I note with keen interest the exchange of views between Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. regarding the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) we have with the United States.

According to Lorenzana, who favors a review of the MDT, the treaty was signed in 1951 when conditions were so much different from today. Locsin, on the other hand, simply pooh-poohs the idea of a review, saying “vagueness in the treaty serves as deterrence.”

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Locsin’s take, to my mind, may have some logical and contextual justification had the US bases not been removed from the country in 1991; their presence alone then spelled limitless
protection and security in the area. No country ever attempted to lay claim over any swathes of land in the South China Sea, much less any island closer to home.

But with the US bases gone, we see the unbridled use of military power by China in claiming islands and building artificial ones in areas specifically declared by The Hague as part
of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

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Thus, Locsin’s theory of vagueness as deterrence is just that—wishful thinking, proven starkly wrong by what has happened, and is still happening, in the South China Sea.

BENJIE GUERRERO, [email protected]

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TAGS: Benjie Guerrero, Inquirer letters, mutual defense treaty, Teodoro Locsin Jr.
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