The US would be allowed to station forces at military bases in the Philippines if it went to war with North Korea, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday, citing a treaty between the allies.
"Our mutual defence treaty calls for joint action if either the Philippines or the United States is attacked," del Rosario said amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
"It would then be logical to assume that in the event of an attack on the Philippines or on our treaty ally, the US would be allowed to use our bases," he added.
Del Rosario was responding to a question about whether the archipelago, a former US colony, would allow the stationing of American troops on its soil in case war broke out between the US and North Korea.
On Friday, Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the government was prepared to undertake "extreme measures", including allowing US bases in the country, in the event of an "extreme emergency" on the Korean Peninsula.
In recent years, the Philippines has been seeking to improve its defence ties with the US amid a festering territorial dispute with China over parts of the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, Japan has ordered aircraft to report to the US military first if they enter airspace near the main US military base in Okinawa. The transport ministry notice issued late on Friday was believed to be part of precautions against possible North Korean missile launches, Kyodo News agency reported.
A Japanese official mistakenly announced the launch of a North Korean missile instead of sending an alert about a strong earthquake that hit western Japanyesterday morning.