Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called upon the United States to back up a Mutual Defense Treaty (MDS) signed in 1951 between the two countries and send the vaunted Seventh Fleet to take on China.
The sinking of a Philippine fishing boat by a Chinese trawler on June 9 appears to be the spark that has escalated tensions over the disputed South China Sea territories, and spurred Duterte’s sudden recall of the defense treaty. Beijing claimed the event to be an accident.
During an interview with Philippine television evangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte said “I’m calling now (sic) America. I’m invoking the RP-US pact. I would like America to gather all their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now. And I will join them.” He went on to say that he would urge his critics, namely Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario, to go to war with him.