US tells China to stop its ‘dangerous and destabilising conduct’ in West Philippine Sea

Philippine military chief, General Romeo Brawner (right), and Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, (left), Commander of the Philppines Armed Forces' Western Command share a meal with Filipino marines and navy personnel stationed aboard the long-marooned BRP Sierra Madre at the Second Thomas Shoal on Dec 10, 2023.

MANILA: United States once again upheld its commitment to its defense treaty with Philippines following China’s reckless manoevres against Philippine vessels in West Philippine Sea (WPS) over the weekend.

“We reaffirm that Article IV of the 1951 US – Philippines Mutual Defence Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea,” said US Department of States spokesperson Matthew Miller in a statement issued Monday (Dec 11 Philippine time).

China, in two separate incidents over the weekend, fired water cannons and went on reckless manoevres against Philippine vessels in WPS.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr himself said China’s actions have steeled Philippines’ determination to defend and protect its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in WPS.

Miller, on the other hand, labelled China’s actions as unlawful, saying it undermined regional stability.

“By impeding the safe operations of Philippine vessels carrying provisions to Filipino service members stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, China interfered in lawful Philippine maritime operations and in Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” he said.

“Obstructing supply lines to this long standing outpost and interfering with lawful Philippines maritime operations undermines regional stability,” said Miller.

“These actions reflect not only reckless disregard for the safety and livelihoods of Filipinos, but also for international law,” he cautioned.

Miller then called on China to abide by the 2016 arbitral decision and desist from its “dangerous and destabilising conduct.”

In October, US reaffirmed its Mutual Defense Treaty with Philippines after a Chinese maritime militia rammed Philippine navy boats en route to a resupply mission to troops stationed on Ayungin Shoal. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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Philippines , China , sea , US , confrontation


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