Ah, you thought things would quiet down once US soldiers left Iraq. Ah, you are looking forward to Mission Accomplished in Afghanistan. Sorry, you have the wrong location in Asia. Under provisions of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines, American forces have a responsibility to assist Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands of the South China Sea. of course, not only does the Filipino government claim the islands which supposedly have oil and gas sources, but so does Vietnam and China. Parts of this area are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan along with the Philippines, Vietnam and China. According to the treaty, if Filipino forces come under attack the US is obligated to send military forces to aid them in any fight.
The Treaty specifically defines an attack as an armed assault on the “metropolitan territory of the parties”or on their “armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.”