Lorenzana makes pitch to review 68-year-old MDT
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana worries that Philippines may be involved in an unwanted conflict because of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States and made a pitch for a review of the 68-year-old agreement.
“The Philippines is not in a conflict with anyone and will not be at war with anyone in the future. But the United States, with the increased and frequent passage of its naval vessels in the West Philippine Sea, is more likely to be involved in a shooting war,'' said Lorenzana in a statement issued Tuesday.
''In such a case and on the basis of the MDT, the Philippines will be automatically involved,” added Lorenzana.
“It is not the lack of reassurance that worries me. It is being involved in a war that we do not seek and do not want,” he added.
Lorenzana said ''the security environment now is so vastly different and much more complex than the bipolar security construct of the era when the MDT was written necessitates a review of the Treaty.''
Lorenzana questioned a remark by Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., that the vagueness of the MDT is the “best deterrence”. Locsin said last week after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he sees no need to review the MDT.
“I do not believe that ambiguity or vagueness of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) will serve as a deterrent,” he said.
“In fact, it will cause confusion and chaos during a crisis. ,” he added.
Lorenzana emphasized that the review of the MDT should have been done in 1992 when the US bases left.
“I would even argue that the MDT should have been reviewed when the US bases were terminated in 1992 and we lost our security umbrella,” he said.
“A couple of years after the US left the bases, the Chinese began their aggressive actions in Mischief Reef--not an armed attack but it was aggression just the same. The US did not stop it,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS