Maybe, but likely not, secret memo explains
IS Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. right to claim that the United States will come to our aid in case China attacks our vessels in disputed areas in the South China Sea?
The short answer: maybe, if Chinese forces attack us first, and we didn’t shoot first. But most likely, no. The Americans will decide at their whim as the provisions of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) are ambiguous.
The US will simply interpret the treaty the way its sees fit in the actual situation. More importantly, it will base its decision on whether aiding us and fighting the Chinese in a disputed territory is worth risking a nuclear war with China, especially as it has developed only in the past several years a blue-water Navy at par with the US.
This is not speculation, nor my analysis. The way the US really interprets the treaty was revealed in 2009 when a 1976 secret memorandum was declassified by the US State Department’s Office of the Historian. While the stance was made in response to the demand of the late President Ferdinand Marcos for a “clear written statement” in 1976, it remains the same today.(more…)