US: Chinese fleet swarming in West PH Sea shows 'disregard' for other SCS claimants | Global News

US: Chinese fleet swarming in West PH Sea shows ‘disregard’ for other SCS claimants

/ 01:04 PM December 20, 2022

US says Chinese fleet swarming in the West Philippines Sea shows China's 'disregard' for other South China Sea claimants

In this March 7, 2021 photo, around 220 Chinese militia vessels were spotted moored at Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun) in the West Philippine Sea. (NTF WPS)

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese vessels swarming in the Western Philippine Sea demonstrates China’s “continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants,” according to the United States (US).

US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday (Manila time) that Chinese vessels swarming in the area meddle with the livelihood of Filipino fisherfolk.

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“The reported escalating swarms of PRC (People’s Republic of China) vessels in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the Spratly Islands interfere with the livelihoods of Philippine fishing communities, and also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region,” Price said in a statement.

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The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei have competing claims over the South China Sea, which China insists is entirely theirs through its sweeping nine-dash line that the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Netherlands had invalidated in a landmark ruling in July 2016.

The historical decision stemmed from a petition filed by the Philippines against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal.

READ: PH wins arbitration case over South China Sea

The US, a non-claimant nation but a Philippine ally, has been conducting freedom of navigation operations in the contested sea. It repeatedly expressed support for the Philippines’ call that China should respect international laws covering the South China Sea.

“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in upholding the rules-based international order and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law,” said Price.

READ: South China Sea claimants told: ‘Refrain from provocative unilateral actions’

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Earlier, the Department of National Defense voiced its concern over Chinese vessels swarming in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: DND airs concern over Chinese vessels ‘swarming’ in WPS

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TAGS: China, Philippines, South China Sea, US, West Philippine Sea

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