[Ed. – That’s a major announcement. As with all these things, it would be nice to have a heads up. But if there were one, the media would simply use it to agitate against the policy, starting with framing it in the worst light possible (and probably coming up with fake news that Jared Kushner has a suspicious monetary interest in the Philippines, or something equally moronic).]
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a new policy on the South China Sea last week declaring the United States will defend the Philippines from an attack by China over a years-long island dispute.
The policy shift was announced by Pompeo in Manila on Friday. The secretary told reporters China’s island-building threatened both U.S. and Philippine sovereignty, security, and economic livelihood.
“As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft, or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under Article 4 of our Mutual Defense Treaty,” Pompeo said after a meeting with Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.
The treaty article states that an armed attack in the “Pacific area” on either party would lead to action in response.
Until the declaration, the United States had not made clear the South China Sea was considered legally part of the Pacific under the defense treaty.