US won’t let China control vital sea | Global News

US won’t let China control vital sea

The United States has urged claimants to the South China Sea to unite and put pressure on China by having a shared understanding of “militarization,” thus avoiding the growing tension in the region, according to the Department of Defense (DND).

In a high-level meeting on Tuesday between Philippine and US defense and diplomatic officials, the United States vowed it would not allow China to control the vital waterway and that it would ensure freedom of navigation in the region, a DND statement on Thursday said.


The Philippines, represented by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, want joint patrols in the contested area.

The US panel headed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reiterated Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to the security of the Philippines and support to its military modernization program.


“The United States suggested the need for parties in the South China Sea to have a common and shared understanding of militarization to avoid growing tensions. A common sense among the other parties would put pressure on China,” the DND said.

China is claiming the entire South China Sea and has been aggressive in its expansion and construction activities in the area.

The DND said the US side noted China’s claim that it would not militarize the disputed region.

“The US side emphasized that it will not allow China to control the South China Sea and will act to ensure that freedom of navigation is respected,” the DND stressed.


In addition, the United States said it “will continue to fly and sail whenever and wherever international law allows” and will “maintain presence in the South China Sea to include naval, subsea, air and special forces.”

More collaboration

DND spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez stressed the need for a more collaborative presence in the South China Sea.


“Thus, in addition to the US’ freedom of navigation operations, we are suggesting that we also patrol the area together,” he added. “There is a need for more collaborative presence in the South China Sea.

Both parties also agreed to explore the possibility of other partners participating in bilateral activities, such as Japan and Australia, stressing the usefulness of multilateral cooperation in addressing security challenges, the DND said.

Del Rosario and Gazmin later met with Senators John McCain and Jack Reed of the US Senate armed services committee, according to a news release issued by the Philippine Embassy in Washington yesterday.


The embassy said the committee, headed by McCain, “has demonstrated keen interest in developments in Asia, particularly on the issue of maritime security.”

“One of the committee’s most significant initiatives in this regard was the introduction of the Maritime Security Initiative in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that allots $50 million to help enhance the maritime security capacities of countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines,” it said.

Test flights

US President Barack Obama first unveiled this maritime assistance plan when he was in Manila in November last year. He announced that Washington would scale up naval aid in Southeast Asia, which includes the transfer of two warships to the Philippine Navy.

“We wish to thank the Senate Armed Services Committee for the priority it has accorded to US engagement with Asia-Pacific and for the committee’s statements calling for stronger US presence in the region,” Del Rosario told the senators.

The Philippine Embassy said Gazmin and Del Rosario welcomed McCain’s comments against China’s recent test flights over Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef and the “committee’s consistent efforts” to prod the US government to continue with legitimate challenges to China’s illegal claims in the South China Sea.

Earlier, McCain hailed the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of 10-year Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“As Manila finds itself the target of Chinese coercion in the West Philippine Sea and is looking to Washington for leadership, this agreement will give us new tools to … expand engagement with the Philippine Armed Forces, and enhance our presence in Southeast Asia,” he said in a statement.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Albert Del Rosario, Ashton Carter, China, John Kerry, South China Sea, territorial dispute, United States of America, US, Voltaire Gazmin, West Philippine Sea
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our global news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.