On his visit to the Philippines, top US diplomat also spoke about “protecting” democracy and “precious maritime resources” Boxes of medical equipment marked with USAID labels are visible next to Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he speaks outside a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Manila, Philippines, August 6, 2022 © AP / Andrew Harnik

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a visit to Manila to meet the Philippines’ newly elected leader and reassure him of Washington’s full support in the face of China’s “destabilizing and dangerous” actions following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between Washington and Manila remains “ironclad,” Blinken said at a joint press conference with his Philippine counterpart Enrique Manalo on Saturday.

“We always stand by our partners… an armed attack on Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments under that treaty,” the top US diplomat said.

Besides discussing security partnership, Blinken said they also spoke about deepening economic relations and “strengthening democracy,” in conversations with Secretary Manalo and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Blinken has become the highest ranking US official to meet the Philippines’ newly elected leader, a former dictator’s son, who was sworn in on June 30 after a landslide victory earlier this year.

“The United States is committed to working collaboratively with the Philippines to defend the rule of the law, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms – including freedom of expression – and safeguard civil society,” Blinken said.

“In addition to working with the Philippines to help secure its maritime domain, we also partner with Filipino fishermen and scientific researchers to preserve and protect the Philippines’ precious maritime resources,” Blinken added. (RT)