Armed attack on Philippines would invoke US mutual defence commitments: US State Department
The US State Department on Sunday condemned China’s aggression against the Philippines
in the South China Sea
where it blocked Filipino manoeuvres with water cannons.
“The United States
reaffirms an armed attack on Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces—including those of its Coast Guard in the South China
Sea—would invoke U.S. mutual defence commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US Philippines
Mutual Defence Treaty,” the statement warned China
in a press statement.
“The United States
stands with our Philippine allies in the face of dangerous actions by the Coast Guard and maritime militia of the People’s Republic of China
(PRC) to obstruct an August 5 Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea
,” Mathew Miller, US Department of State spokesperson said in a press release.
“Firing water cannons and employing unsafe blocking manoeuvres, PRC ships interfered with the Philippines’ lawful exercise of high seas freedom of navigation and jeopardized the safety of the Philippine vessels and crew,” the release added.
The US State Department Spokesperson said the actions by China
threaten the status quo of the South China Sea
“Such actions by the PRC are inconsistent with international law and are the latest in repeated threats to the status quo in the South China Sea
, directly threatening regional peace and stability,” the release said.
“By impeding necessary provisions from reaching the Filipino servicemembers stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, the PRC has also undertaken unwarranted interference in lawful Philippine maritime operations,” the press statement added.
“As made clear by an international tribunal’s legally binding decision issued in July 2016, the PRC has no lawful claim to the maritime area around Second Thomas Shoal, which is located well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone,” it added.
The State Department statement further mentioned that the United States
reiterates, pursuant to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the arbitral decision is final and legally binding on the PRC and the Philippines
“The United States
calls upon the PRC to abide by the arbitral ruling as well as to respect the freedom of navigation — a right to which all states are entitled,” it added.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of the Philippines
, invalidating China’s claim in the South China Sea
and West Philippine Sea which encroached on the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Manila Times reported.
Japanese Ambassador to Manila, Koshikawa Kazuhiko, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “[It’s] Totally unacceptable any harassment and actions which infringe on lawful activities of the sea and endanger the navigational safety.”
“We strongly support [the] Philippines’ position; upholding maritime order based on Unclos (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and 2016 Arbitral Award,” Koshikawa said in the post.
European Union Ambassador to Manila Luc Veron, on the same platform said he was “very concerned about dangerous action” in the South China Sea
stands with [the] Philippines
in upholding the rules-based international order. The EU
supports the legally binding nature of the 2016 South China Sea
arbitration,” Veron said.
Ambassador of Australia to Manila, Hae Kyong Yu, said Canberra is concerned about the latest actions directed against the Philippines
, which “are dangerous and destabilising”.
“We reiterate our call for peace, stability, and respect for Unclos in the South China Sea
— a vital international waterway,” Yu said in a separate post.
Earlier, on Sunday, the Philippines
of “blocking and water cannoning” a chartered supply boat in the South China Sea
, which was en route to Ayungin Shoal for a routine troop rotation and resupply mission, The Manila Times reported.
“The Philippine Coast Guard
(PCG) strongly condemns the CCG’s dangerous manoeuvres and illegal use of water cannons against the PCG vessels escorting the indigenous boats chartered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) yesterday, August 5, 2023,” the Philippines
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