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US: Washington remains committed to South China Sea issue
Patrick Murphy of the US Department of State said Chinese construction, reclamation and the growing militarization in the West Philippine Sea is a great concern for the US.

US: Washington remains committed to South China Sea issue

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Following a warning by the head  of the US Pacific Command that China had reached the tipping point in its control over the West Philippine Sea, the United States on Wednesday declared that it is committed and remains interested in the territorial dispute.

Patrick Murphy of the US Department of State said Chinese construction, reclamation and the growing militarization in the West Philippine Sea is a great concern for the US. 

The militarization on the part of any and all parties, Murphy said, would suggest that past commitments are being violated. 

Earlier, Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the US Pacific Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee and warned that China had reached the tipping point in its control over the South China Sea.

“China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” Davidson said.

Murphy, acting principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, said the commitment not to militarize the area had been made in public and private to the US as well as to other parties.

He pushed for a multilateral approach in the resolution of the territorial row.

“We’re very, very, very committed. As I say in the South China Sea, we’re not a claimant but we’re a very interested party and we very much hope that the process to resolve disputes can be conducted transparently and in consultation with many third parties that are interested, including the US,” Murphy told journalists at a press briefing.

“We don’t take sides in the disputed territories but we’re an interested party and we very much hope that these disputes can be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law which we subscribe to as well,” he added.

Murphy said there are many interested parties, not only the US, because over 40 percent of global commerce goes through the West Philippine Sea. – With Michael Punongbayan

US PACIFIC COMMAND WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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