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US stands by Mutual Defense Treaty despite DND remark on review

The United States continues to believe in its alliance with the Philippines even after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana indicated the need to review the decades-old Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.

At a press briefing in Malacañang, Lorenzana on Friday said that he wanted to review the 1951 MDT to find out if its provisions were still relevant to the country's national interest in the modern age.

"We have a strong and robust security alliance with the Philippines, and the United States by its mutual defense treaty obligations," said Trude Raizen, the acting press attache at the US Embassy in Manila.

"As Ambassador Kim said, 'Our Commitment to this alliance is absolute. It's ironclad'," Raizen added.

Lorenzana said the objective of the review was to find out whether to "maintain it, strengthen it, or scrap it."

Under the MDT, Washington and Manila agree to conduct joint military exercises.

It also obliges American troops to help defend the Philippines if the latter came under attack.

"When that [MDT] was done, there was a Cold War. Do we still have a Cold War today? Is it still relevant to our security? Maybe not," Lorenzana said.

"Is this piece of paper [MDT] still relevant for our national interest? Does it support our national interest at this time, modern na tayo ngayon, not 1951... This is 2017-2018. So ito ba ay nakakasuporta pa sa ating national interest or not?" he added.

Asked if the review of the defense treaty was prompted by the Duterte administration's warming relations with China, the Defense chief said the review of the pact was due to  "dynamics of what's going on all over the world."

"We are going to look at it in the backdrop of what's happening in the area at saka 'yung interest natin as a nation... not the interest of other nations, but our interest," Lorenzana said. —NB, GMA News