DFA chief, US Secretary of State Blinken discuss tension in WPS

DFA chief, US Secretary of State Blinken discuss tension in WPS

/ 04:59 PM December 28, 2023

Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shake hands at the end of a joint press availability at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shake hands at the end of a joint press conference at State Department in Washington, U.S. on April 11, 2023. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

MANILA, Philippines — United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo engaged in a phone call on Thursday (Philippine time) and spoke about issues of mutual concern.

US Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed this communication in a press statement issued on Thursday.


He said among the issues tackled was the ongoing tension in West Philippine Sea.


“Secretary Blinken underscored the United States’ ironclad commitments to the Philippines under our Mutual Defense Treaty,” said Miller.

“Secretary Blinken and Secretary Manalo also exchanged ideas on how to reinforce [the] US – Philippines cooperation in the coming year, building on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s official working visit to Washington, D.C. this past May,” he added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, said Manalo “reaffirmed the Philippines’ abiding interest to protect its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, while maintaining peace and security and upholding the rules-based international order.”

China: PH is playing victim, making a show

In light of these talks, China accused the Philippines of “playing victim” and “making a show.”

Defense Ministry Spokesperson Wu Qian said the Philippines’ assertion that China is causing tensions in the disputed waters is purely for “false hype.”


“The Philippine side, in disregard of repeated warnings from the Chinese side, insisted on sending vessel to intrude into the adjacent waters of China’s Ren’ai Jiao (Ayungin Shoal) and provocatively rammed a China Coast Guard vessel and caused scratch,” said Wu.

Wu said China Coast Guard only took “necessary enforcement measures in accordance with law, which were justified and legitimate.”

“We noted that the Philippine side had claimed to conduct humanitarian supplies. However, those supply vessels carried many journalists and propagated disinformation. In my view, this is not humanitarian supply at all, it is to deliberately create an incident, play victim and make a show in the name of humanitarian supply,” said Wu.

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The Chinese official then proceeded to claim that their use of “sonic or laser weapon” against Philippine vessels are mere groundless accusations.

“China has no intention or necessity to use such devices. China is always committed to resolving differences through dialogue and consultation and making joint efforts to maintain maritime stability, but we will not turn a blind eye towards the Philippine’s repeated provocations and harassment,” said Wu.

TAGS: China, DFA, Philippines

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