US warns it will defend ally if China breaks sea ruling

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed a call to China to comply with a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing's vast claims in the South China Sea and warned that Washington is obligated to defend treaty ally Philippines if its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft come under attack in the disputed waters. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (AARON FAVILA)MANILA, Philippines — (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed a call to China to comply with a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing’s vast claims in the South China Sea and warned that Washington is obligated to defend treaty ally Philippines if its forces, vessels or aircraft come under attack in the disputed waters. “We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments” under the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, Blinken said. Marcos Jr.’s predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, put the arbitration ruling in the backburner for years after he took office in 2016 and nurtured cozy ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping while often criticizing U.S. security policies. Dozens of left-activists and laborers protested in front of the Chinese Consulate in Manila’s Makati financial district Tuesday, asking Beijing to respect the arbitration ruling and for Marcos Jr. to defend the country’s territory and sovereign rights in the South China Sea.

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