US to defend Philippines in event of S. China Sea conflict – Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday assured the Philippines it would be defended by Washington if it came under attack in the South China Sea. Speaking during a stopover after a summit with North Korea, Pompeo said a 1951 Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty would be adhered to if its ally was a victim of aggression, and singled out China as a threat to stability, Reuters reported. “China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and therefore economic livelihood as well as that of the US,” he said in Manila. “Any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations.”