‘We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with PH’: US condemns China’s water cannon attack
MANILA, Philippines — The United States Department of State (DOS) has expressed its support to the Philippines after a water cannon attack from Chinese vessels on Philippine boats on Friday.
The Philippine boats were on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
“The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our Philippine ally in the face of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) repeated harassment in the South China Sea,” the DOS statement on Saturday said.
The statement added that actions of the Chinese Coast Guard were “inconsistent with international law” and were “dangerous operational behavior in the South China Sea.”
“An international tribunal’s July 2016 decision – legally binding on both the Philippines and PRC – made clear that the PRC has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Second Thomas Shoal. We urge the PRC to respect the high seas freedoms of navigation guaranteed to all States under international law,” it said.
According to the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, the maneuvers of the Chinese vessels also caused it to collide with the Philippine boats.
The DOS also reaffirmed the contents of its Mutual Defense Treaty which encompasses armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea.
“The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea,” it added.