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Pompeo assures Philippines of U.S. protection in event of sea conflict

Chinese aggression in the South China Sea directed at the Philippines would result in a military response from the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a Friday press conference in Manila.

Pompeo warned the US ally that “China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood as well as that of the United States.” He assured the Philippines that his government will adhere to a 1951 mutual defense treaty between the two countries, which means that an “[a]ny armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations.” The South China Sea is a strategically important waterway subject to contradicting sovereignty claims from the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

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