Philippines, US defense treaty should address China’s ‘gray zone’ tactics — analysts
Adrien Chorn and Monica
Chorn and Sato noted that gray zone threats can include a mix of conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods.
“The United States and the Philippines should issue a joint statement on an elucidative and effective MDT that addresses gray zone threats and upholds the tribunal decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration,” the analysts said in an article published on the CSIS website.
According to the analysts, a revised MDT should be
The revised treaty should also include well-defined rules of engagement, rationale for escalation of force and
“In doing so,
Doing so would improve Philippines-US relations and would also counter Chinese belligerence in the region, they said.
One of China’s “gray zone” tactics is deploying hundreds of paramilitary vessels
Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island, one of the largest features in the
The Department of National Defense also reported that China’s Coast Guard vessels blocked Filipino civilian vessels conducting a resupply mission to
Chorn and Sato also mentioned other dimensions of China’s tactics, such as cyberwarfare, disinformation campaigns and “debt traps” from “opaque” infrastructural investments.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has long been calling for a review on the decades-old MDT following Beijing’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.
When US Secretary of
In response to this, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said there was no need to review the agreement between Manila and Washington.
“In vagueness lies uncertainty — a deterrent. Specificity invites evasion and actions outside the MDT framework,” Locsin said in March.
“I do not believe that ambiguity or vagueness of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty will serve as a deterrent. In fact, it will cause confusion and chaos during a crisis,” Lorenzana said.