US ‘concerned’ on militarization of South China Sea: It’s important for us to be present | Global News

US ‘concerned’ on militarization of South China Sea: It’s important for us to be present

/ 02:28 PM May 03, 2018

US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim on Thursday stressed the need for them to be present in the South China Sea amid the militarization of China in the disputed waters.

“We are concerned anytime a claimant including China takes an aggressive unilateral action towards militarization. It seems to suggest that they [China] are moving towards militarization,” the ambassador said in a press briefing when asked about China’s recently reported activities in the South China Sea.




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The Wall Street Journal reported last month that jamming equipment was deployed in the past 90 days in Fiery Cross and Mischief reefs, a move seen to enforce China’s claims and a step further in its militarization of the hotly contested waters.

Two military transport planes were also spotted last January on Mischief Reef, a maritime area claimed by China but has been awarded by the Permanent Court of Arbitration to the Philippines. It is within the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

“Precisely because we are concerned on the developments of South China Sea it’s very important for us to be present,” Kim said.

The ambassador cited the recent patrols of nuclear-aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Theodore Roosevelt, and other training missions of its assets as part of their ways to reassure their allies in the region.



WATCH: USS Carl Vinson stops in Manila while on South China Sea patrol

He said their presence is to demonstrate their commitment to US-Philippine alliance and to the region that they will do whatever they can to protect international rights, freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight and freedom of commerce.

“This is not only important for us but to everybody. So we will do whatever we can to protect these rights,” Kim said.

China has transformed its artificial islands with military capabilities in the past few years, raising concerns of its neighbors and Western countries.

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“We have consistently called on all claimants including China to refrain from unilateral aggressive actions that are inconsistent with the international law and norms,” Kim said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has repeatedly criticized the United States for supposedly not doing anything to stop China from building artificial bases in the South China Sea.   /muf

TAGS: China, militarization, Mischief Reef, Pentagon, South China Sea, Sung Kim, US

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