The United States on Monday renewed its warning under a 1951 treaty that it would defend the Philippines in the event of an armed attack, after Chinese vessels intercepted and collided with two Philippine vessels off a disputed sandbar in the South China Sea.
Philippine diplomats on Monday summoned an official from the Chinese embassy in Manila to protest strongly following Sunday’s collision in the second Thomas Shoal. There were no injuriesBut the encounters damaged a Philippine coast guard ship and a wooden supply vessel manned by naval personnel, officials said.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. made the call emergency meeting to discuss recent battles in the disputed waters with the Secretary of Defense and other senior military and defense officials. The Philippines and other China neighbors have contested Beijing’s sweeping territorial claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, and some are similar to Manila’s. The incidents prompted increased US military support.
After the meeting, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro criticized China for resorting to a press conference. “Rogue Force” This, he said, put members of the Filipino group at risk and distorted the facts to cover up his aggression.
“The Philippine government considers China’s recent aggression a blatant violation of international law”Theodore said. “China has no legal right or authority to conduct law enforcement actions in our territorial sea and exclusive economic zone.”.
Marcos ordered an investigation into the maritime disputes, Teodoro said, but declined to reveal what action the Philippine government would take.
“We are taking these incidents seriously at the highest levels of government,” he said, adding that the government called a press conference to provide accurate data. “The Chinese government is deliberately hiding the truth,” the defense chief said.
The Philippines also plans to raise the alarm Dangerous maneuvers of Chinese ships Negotiations on a non-aggression pact between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations proposed a “code of conduct” to avoid a major armed conflict in the South China Sea. Beijing will hold three days of talks starting Monday, two Philippine officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the talks.
Teodoro said it was “extremely ironic” that China was holding talks aimed at avoiding major conflicts at sea when it was in “blatant disregard for international law”.
Regional conflicts involving China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have long been seen as a flashpoint on a delicate fault line in the US-China rivalry.
About five Chinese Coast Guard vessels, eight auxiliary vessels and two naval vessels preventing On Sunday, two Philippine Coast Guard ships and two ships docked at the second Thomas Shoal in the Philippines to prevent the delivery of food and other supplies to Philippine forces. said Coast Guard Commodore Jay Dariela.
During the confrontation, a Philippine Coast Guard ship, a supply ship, and a Chinese Coast Guard ship were attacked separately. Only one of the two Philippine ships was able to deliver supplies to the Philippine forces.Dariala said.
A top Chinese diplomat invited by Philippine foreign officials repeated China’s claim that Philippine ships had invaded Chinese territory.
“China again urges the Philippines to take itself seriously China is a serious concern“Keep your promise, stop provocations at sea, stop dangerous moves, stop baselessly attacking and slandering China, and immediately tow away the illegally landed warship,” Zhou Zhiyong was quoted as saying by the Chinese embassy in Manila.
He was referring to the Sierra Madre, which serves as Manila’s regional outpost on the sandbar since it was deliberately sunk in 1999.
Sunday, The Chinese Coast Guard has blamed Philippine vessels for the collision and claimed to have taken construction materials to reinforce their outpost on the Philippine sandbar.
The US and other allies expressed concern over China’s move. Washington renewed its warning under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty that Philippine forces, ships and aircraft “have an obligation to defend the Philippines, including its coast guard, anywhere in the South China Sea” if they come under armed attack.
“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in the face of dangerous and illegal actions by the Republic of China’s maritime militia and coast guard to impede the Philippine resupply mission to the second Thomas Shoal on October 22,” the Department of Defense said. In a statement issued by the US Embassy in Manila,
He blamed dangerous maneuvers by Chinese vessels for the conflicts and said they “violated international law by deliberately interfering with the exercise of freedom of navigation on the high seas by Philippine vessels.”
The State Department cited a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s extensive claims to the South China Sea on historical grounds, including the Second Thomas Shoal.
Washington does not claim the disputed seaBut it has deployed patrols at sea to promote freedom of navigation and overflight, moves that have angered Beijing, which has warned the United States to stop meddling in what it says is a purely Asian dispute.
(With information from AP)