The US has warned China that it will defend the Philippines’ armed forces from attack in the South China Sea as part of a 70-year-old mutual defense treaty.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, made the comments late on Sunday ahead of the fifth anniversary of a legal ruling that rejected Beijing’s claims to the waters.
US President Biden’s administration said it backed a Trump-era policy that rejects China’s claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea.
“We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” the top diplomat added.
It is estimated that ~3-5 TRILLION in trade passes through the South China Sea annually.
For many of the world’s largest economies, the South China Sea is an essential maritime crossroads for trade. Over 64 percent of China’s maritime trade transited the waterway in 2016, while nearly 42 percent of Japan’s maritime trade passed through the South China Sea in the same year. The United States is less reliant on South China Sea, with just over 14 percent of its maritime trade passing through the region.