‘We have your back’: US vows for first time to defend Philippines if country is attacked by Beijing over disputed South China Sea

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. INQUIRER.net photo / Ryan Leagogo

By William Cole FOR MAILONLINE – The Philippines will be defended against ‘armed attack’ in the disputed South China Sea, according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The senior diploma issued Washington’s starkest warning yet against China’s claimed ownership of the strategic waterway.

Speaking in Manila on Friday after meeting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Pompeo said Beijing’s artificial islands in the water were also a threat.

‘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 United States,’ Pompeo said at a joint news conference.

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