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US backs Philippines in South China Seas

Updated: Mar 25

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The United States stood with the Philippines and condemned Beijing's activities in the South China Sea, where Chinese ships attacked the Philippine Coast Guard with water cannons on March 23.

"Chinese ships’ repeated employment of water cannons and reckless blocking maneuvers resulted in injuries to Filipino service members and significant damage to their resupply vessel, rendering it immobile," said Matthew Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Department of State.

Miller said China's actions prevent normal personnel rotations and deprive Filipino service members at Second Thomas Shoal of necessary provisions. 

"This incident marks only the latest in China's repeated obstruction of Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and disruption of supply lines to this longstanding outpost," he said.

Miller said China's destabilizing actions in the region show "clear disregard for international law."

In July 2016, an international tribunal issued a legally binding decision which held that China had no lawful maritime claims to the waters around Second Thomas Shoal, which is within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.  

"As provided under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the 2016 arbitral decision is final and legally binding on the PRC and the Philippines, and the United States calls upon the PRC to abide by the ruling and desist from its dangerous and destabilizing conduct," Miller said.

"The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense 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," he added.


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