China: US backing of PH acts in WPS ‘doomed to fail’
The “sinister attempt” by the United States to endorse the Philippines’ “acts of infringement and provocation” in the South China Sea is “doomed to fail,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said on Thursday.
This was its response to a statement issued by the US state department expressing support for the Philippines on Monday, a day after two collisions occurred between Chinese ships and Filipino boats on a routine resupply mission in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
The statement, which was shared by the US Embassy in Manila, also called out the China Coast Guard for its “dangerous maneuvers” that “caused the collision” and for interfering in the Philippine military’s legitimate operations on Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.
“The US Embassy in the Philippines, in disregard of facts, made baseless attacks against China’s legitimate and lawful law enforcement activities to safeguard our rights at Ren’ai Jiao,” the Chinese Embassy said. Beijing refers to Ayungin as Ren’ai Jiao.
Not involved in row
“It’s a sinister attempt to endorse the Philippines’ acts of infringement and provocation. We deplore and reject it,” it added.
At a press briefing in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said that since the United States was not involved in its maritime conflict with Manila, it must not interfere in the matter.
“The US is not party to the South China Sea issue, it has no right to get involved in a problem between China and the Philippines,” ministry spokesperson Mao Ning replied when asked about Washington’s statement that it would protect Filipinos.
“The US promise of defending the Philippines must not hurt China’s sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea, and it also must not enable and encourage the illegal claims of the Philippines,” Mao said.
Tensions have been rising between Washington and Beijing, with the latter accusing the US government of using the Philippines to expand its interest in the South China Sea and Asia-Pacific region.