US calls out China: ‘Desist from provocative, unsafe conduct’ in West Philippine Sea
MANILA, Philippines — The United States said on Sunday that it stands with the Philippines following reports of alleged harassment and intimidation of Beijing coast guards to the country’s patrol vessel in the West Philippine Sea.
“The United States stands with The Philippines in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard’s continued infringement upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” the US said in a press statement.
“Imagery and video recently published in the media is a stark reminder of PRC harassment and intimidation of Philippine vessels as they undertake routine patrols within their exclusive economic zone. We call upon Beijing to desist from its provocative and unsafe conduct. The United States continues to track and monitor these interactions closely,” it added.
On April 28, the country and China blamed each other for the near-collision of two of their coast guard ships near the Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.
According to reports, Manila said a China Coast Guard ship used “dangerous maneuvers” to block the 44-meter BRP Malapascua of the Philippine Coast Guard sailing toward Ayungin.
The US also cited its mutual defense commitments to the country under the 1951 U.S. Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order and reaffirms that an armed attack in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea, on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft, including those of the Coast Guard, would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S. Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” the US said.
Meanwhile, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu, called for “peace, stability, and respect” in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in the WPS.
“Concerned by further reports of unprofessional and dangerous conduct against the Philippines in its Exclusive Economic Zone. Australia reiterates our call for peace, stability, and respect for UNCLOS in the South China Sea, a vital international waterway,” Yu wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday. With a report from Reuters
Coast Guard bares new tack vs Chinese harassment in WPS
China ‘big brother’ ships show up for militia boats confronted by PCG
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.