P The President of the Hilippines, Rodrigo Duterte, wants President Trump to park the Navy's seventh fleet in front of China's doorstep in response to continuing tensions in the Pacific.
Citing a decade-old security agreement, Duterte called on Trump to rally the fleet in response to an incident in June in which a Chinese ship rammed a Filipino fishing boat into Filipino waters.
"I'm calling America now, I'm calling the RP-US pact, and I want America to bring its seventh fleet to China, I'll ask them now," Duterte said during an interview with Apollo Quibiloy, a Filipino Religious leader who claims to be the "appointed Son of God".
Duterte is known for his bombastic statements and said he would personally board the fleet and invite his local critics to join him.
"I will join them, I will ride the boat with the United States Admiral," Duterte said.
The Philippines are concerned about their safety in the face of a growing Chinese threat. After the incident in June, nearly two dozen fishermen were absent, and the Philippine government demanded answers from China. Duterte would later dismiss the ramming as "a minor incident at sea".
The Philippines is one of five countries arguing with China over the South China Sea, a major trade route and resource-rich region. China has been involved in a campaign for island construction in the region for many years, building naval depots, air strips and weapons platforms on the artificial islands. In response, the US Navy, including the Seventh Fleet, has conducted so-called "Freedom of Navigation" operations in the region to keep the sea lanes open. These operations have led to several close encounters with Chinese forces.
The Mutual Defense Treaty cited by Duterte was signed in 1
"And there is also a clause that states," I am sure that all the enemies of your country will stand in one corner – that an actual attack … will be forwarded to the United Nations. Cropsey said, "The truth is, when hostilities break out against one of the signatories, both have to comply with their constitutions and the matter goes to the UN for decision."
In March, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo promised the US the treaty It reaffirmed its commitment to Philippine security during the bilateral talks which ended on Tuesday, and reiterated Pompeo's promise that "any attack on Philippine forces, public ships or Aircraft in [South China Sea] "would trigger the contract.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cropsey said it was unlikely that a whole fleet would be outside the mainland, although Duterte could have some sense in stopping China from doing so
In favor of Duterte plays his seemingly close relationship with Trump The two have built a certain bond since winning their presidential elections in 2016. Duterte even serenaded Trump at a gala dinner in 2017, calling the president "the light in my world, one half of my heart."
Cropsey said there may be room for a smaller security precaution, such as: B. for military exchange and participation in military exercises. While the US has avoided participating in territorial disputes, they have sought closer partnerships with other Asian countries in the South China Sea region.