US warns China over moves on Philippines, Taiwan

(Agence France-Presse) - April 8, 2021 - 7:21am

WASHINGTON, United States — The United States on Wednesday warned China against what the Philippines and Taiwan see as increasingly aggressive moves, reminding Beijing of Washington's obligations to its partners.

"An armed attack against the Philippines' armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, including in the South China Sea, will trigger our obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

"We share the concerns of our Philippine allies regarding the continued reported massing of PRC maritime militia near the Whitsun Reef," Price said, referring to the People's Republic of China.

More than 200 Chinese boats were first spotted on March 7 at Whitsun Reef, around 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Palawan Island in the contested South China Sea, although many have since scattered across the Spratly Islands.

China, which claims almost the entirety of the resource-rich sea, has refused weeks of appeals by the Philippines to withdraw the vessels, which Manila says unlawfully entered its exclusive economic zone.

Tensions have also risen with Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of China, with the self-governing democracy on Wednesday reporting that 15 more of the mainland's planes crossed into the island's air defense zone.

Price voiced "concern" about the Chinese moves, saying: "The United States maintains the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan."

He was using language from the Taiwan Relations Act, under which the United States is obliged to provide the island with the means to defend itself against Beijing.

President Joe Biden has vowed a robust defense of allies and, in a rare point of continuity with his predecessor Donald Trump, has supported strong pushback against Chinese assertiveness.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 29, 2021 - 6:23pm

A thread of major developments in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States from January to December 2021. (Presidential photo/Joey Dalumpines and AFP/Angela Weiss)

July 29, 2021 - 6:23pm

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin lands in Manila as part of his trip to Southeast Asia.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Pentagon chief will have a formal meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss several issues concerning security and relations.

These include the Visiting Forces Agreement and the West Philippine Sea.

July 28, 2021 - 10:06pm

President Rodrigo Duterte will meet United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday as part of the latter's official visit to Southeast Asia.

Austin's visit to Manila highlights the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the US, the Office of the President says in a statement.

Executive Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez and Presidential Assistant on Foregin Affairs Robert Borje are also expected to attent the courtesy call.

July 14, 2021 - 3:12pm

Speaking at the Special ASEAN-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomes Washington’s open support for the July 2016 Arbitral Award and its commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty.

"It is binding international law and the most authoritative application of UNCLOS on the maritime entitlements of features in the South China Sea. As such, it contributes to the rules-based order in ASEAN and benefits all the countries that use the vital artery that is the South China Sea. The rest is bluster," Locsin says.

July 1, 2021 - 5:47pm

As the Philippines and United States commemorate the 75th year of their diplomatic ties, US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law says Washington "is and will forever remain dedicated."

Speaking at the US Embassy's celebration of 2021 US Independence Day, Law says he has confidence that the ties between the longtime allies will continue to prosper and thrive.

"Through wars, natural disasters, pandemics, and whatever else may come our way, the US-Philippine relationship is — as Ambassador Romualdez would like to say — Thriving at 75," he says.

June 13, 2021 - 10:22am

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez sees the "light at the end of the tunnel" amid the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of the US government.

In his Independence Day message, Romualdez highlights how Washington assisted the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General as American vaccines make their way to the Philippines either directly or through the COVAX facility.

"This cooperation was strengthened due in large part to the active and compassionate Filipino communities who augmented and broadened our Government's endeavors," Romualdez says in a statement.

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