From philipeno president in APEC SUMMIT
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MANILA — Another historic event took place in Jakarta, Indonesia as the United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has assured that Washington “stands shoulder-to-shoulder” with Manila “in defending its sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its Exclusive Economic Zone.”
On Wednesday, November 15, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro met with Austin on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
“The Secretaries reaffirmed that the Mutual Defense Treaty extends to both countries’ armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft—including those of its Coast Guard—anywhere in the Pacific, to include the South China Sea,” read a joint statement from the spokesperson of the Philippines and US defense departments.
Austin also reaffirmed US President Joe Biden’s earlier pronouncements of the “ironclad” defense commitments of the United States to the Philippines.
The US defense chief’s statements coinciding with the meeting came on the heels of China’s “latest bullying” when Chinese vessels harassed and acted aggressively against Philippine vessels on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal or Second Thomas Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.