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Philippines says treaty obliges US to help in South China Sea

Philippine police use water cannon to disperse anti-US protesters near the US embassy in Manila on April 29, 2014Manila said Wednesday the United States had a treaty obligation to help the Philippines if it is attacked on its own territory or in the South China Sea, as it rejected criticism of a security agreement. President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the US would support its ally in the event of being attacked, a day after his government signed an agreement allowing a greater American military presence on Philippine bases over 10 years. Obama cited a 1951 mutual defence treaty but did not specifically mention coming to Manila’s aid in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines are in dispute over tiny islets, reefs and rocks. “Under the mutual defence treaty, the United States will come to the assistance of the Philippines if our metropolitan territory is attacked or if our armed forces are attacked in the Pacific area,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.

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