The United States will continue to conduct naval operations and overflights in the South China Sea amid China’s reported continuing fortification of man-made islands in the disputed sea.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said such operations were meant to ensure freedom of navigation and flight in the South China Sea, where seven nations including the Philippines have overlapping claims.
“We are not a claimant, so our role is different from those of the claimants including the Philippines,” Kim said in an interview aired on Wednesday over GMA News.
Asked how the US posed a deterrent to prevent China from continuing to build in the South China Sea, Kim said the US was “doing everything possible” to ensure freedom of navigation and freedom of flight in the vital sea lanes through which about $3 trillion in global trade passes each year.
“Our role now is best performed in making sure to protect those important international rights… and that we continue to do in a variety of ways including conducting freedom of navigation operations,” Kim said. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan