DFA chief: US vows presence in disputed waters amid China reclamation
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Wednesday said he will fly to Washington in two weeks to discuss with the US officials the China-led reclamation works in the disputed areas in South China Sea and the possible US support in terms of air and naval equipment.
In a live television interview on Wednesday morning, Del Rosario confirmed that the United States has promised its presence in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) amid reports of China’s massive reclamation activities in seven Philippine-claimed marine features.
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“According to the new Department of Defense Secretary of the United States they are already looking at deploying to the Philippines various advance air and naval equipment… We welcome this,” Del Rosario said, noting that these equipment will require the US presence in the areas.
Del Rosario disclosed its plan to go to Washington D.C., in United States in two weeks to meet with US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and US Secretary of State John Kerry on the possible US military presence in the contested areas in South China Sea.
“We are setting up these meetings. I want to meet with members of Congress who control the purse strings in terms of what the Philippines is looking for,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said the Philippines has been successful in winning the international support for its opposition to the massive reclamation activities of China which he said were aimed at defining its “excessive” nine-dash-line claim.
United States President Barack Obama has recently criticized China for “using its sheer size and muscle” to elbow out smaller countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.
“We are at this point seeking additional support from the US in terms of being able to take a stronger position… which is to uphold the rule of law,” Del Rosario said.
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