US Guidelines: Philippines and South China Sea.

The United States issued a six-page “bilateral defense guidelines” on Wednesday, 3 May 2023.

The guidelines have clarified that the previously agreed 1951 bilateral treaty commitments would be invoked if either is attacked specifically in the South China Sea and also if coast guard vessels were the target.

The guidelines did not specifically mention China, but China’s foreign ministry said it opposed the use of the bilateral defense treaty, stating that the deal was “stoking the fire” of regional tension.

The guidelines appear to have become necessary following China’s aggressive actions against Philippines vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

These actions by Chinese vessels appear to be “stoking the fire” of regional tension.

The boundary of the West Philippine Sea can be seen on this image.

West Philippine Sea

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