Expect more US vessels in South China Sea — PH envoy to US
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez on Sunday said more US vessels are expected to arrive in the South China Sea after the US Navy’s strike force arrival on April 4.
Romualdez said the US vessels are being deployed in the disputed waters as part of its freedom of navigation operations.
According to the US Navy, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group’s arrival on April 4 is the second time it has entered the South China Sea during its 2021 deployment to the US 7th Fleet area of operations.
“They’ve been increasing it in the past several months, at ii-increase nila yan continuously (they’ll keep increasing it continuously) precisely to protect the seaway there,” Romualdez said in an interview with GMA’s Dobol B TV.
“That is freedom of navigation, any vessel can pass through there without any harassment or any stop from any country,” Romualdez explained.
Romualdez also reiterated the US government’s support to the Philippines in the event that its situation with China worsens.
“In-assure tayo ng mga kaibigan natin dito na talagang concerned sila at sila ay handang tumulong sa atin kung humingi tayo ng tulong kung talagang mabigat na yung ginagawa ng China,” said Romualdez
(Our friends here have assured us that they are really concerned and they are ready to help us the moment we ask for help and when our situation with China worsens.)
“I hope hindi natin sila kalaban pero sana huwag naman mangyari. itong mga Chinese vessels ay umalis na lang diyan sa ating teritoryo” he added.
(I hope China is not our foe and the situation does not escalate. I hope these Chinese vessels just leave our territory),
Romualdez also said that if needed, the US is ready to invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the Philippines.
The MDT was signed by the Philippines and US in 1951 where both parties agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either the Philippines or the US would be dangerous and that they would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.
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