PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the national government is not looking into invoking the country’s Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States (US) following the recent display of aggressiveness of China in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Marcos said doing such will only escalate the tension in the area “and I think that would be counterproductive.”

“Besides, despite the fact that it was a military-grade laser that was pointed at our Coast Guard, I do not think that that is sufficient for it to trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said during a media interview after attending the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni homecoming in Baguio City.

“So we are in constant contact, of course, with our treaty partners, not only with the United States but also our Asean partners and our partners here in Asia, and that I think is the better recourse rather to go directly to the Mutual Defense Treaty, which again, I am very concerned would provoke the tensions rather than cool the tensions down,” he added.

On February 6, a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel pointed a military-grade laser light at BRP Malapascua of the Philippine Coast Guard while it was assisting in a resupply mission to troops in Ayungin Shoal.

The PCG said the CCG vessel also made dangerous maneuvers by approaching about 150 yards from the ship’s starboard quarter.

Following the incident, Marcos summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian.

“Actually, I said we have to find a way around this because if we are such close friends such as China and the Philippines, these are not the kind of incidents that we should be talking about between the President and the Ambassador to the Philippines from China,” said Marcos.

“And I reminded him that this was not what we agreed upon with President Xi (Jinping) when I visited him in Beijing,” he added.

In his speech during the event, Marcos maintained that the country will not give up even a single inch of the country’s territory.

“We will continue to uphold our territorial integrity and sovereignty in accordance with our Constitution and with international law. We will work with our neighbors to secure the safety and security of our people,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)