Dangerous sea actions: Blinken raises US concern with Chinese counterpart

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Dangerous sea actions: Blinken raises US concern with Chinese counterpart
Aerial patrols conducted by the Philippine military detected presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
Western Command Armed Forces of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The United States’ top diplomat underscored with his Chinese counterpart China’s dangerous and unlawful actions in the West Philippine Sea and reaffirmed commitments to the Philippines.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, director of the Chinese Communist Party Central Foreign Affairs Commission, during his official visit to Washington on Oct. 26.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Blinken “underscored the United States’ concerns with People’s Republic of China’s dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing an Oct. 22 Philippine resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, reaffirmed our commitments to our Philippine allies.”

Blinken raised broader concerns about China’s actions in the South and East China Seas.

“The Secretary reiterated that the United States will continue to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners,” Miller said.

The China Coast Guard (CCG), in its latest aggression, collided with Philippine vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines lodged on Oct. 23 a diplomatic protest against China over the “dangerous blocking maneuvers” by CCG on Oct. 22

The secretary also emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese strongly opposed on Oct. 26 China’s destabilizing actions in the South China Sea and Beijing’s “dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia” in the disputed waters.

Both leaders also opposed the act of interfering with routine Philippines maritime operations around Ayungin Shoal.

Biden emphasized his country’s defense commitment to the Philippines is “ironclad” as he warned China that the US will defend the Philippines in case of an armed attack in the South China Sea.

“I want to be very clear: the United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad,” Biden said.

In a joint leaders’ statement, Biden and Albanese said the US and Australia are concerned about China’s “excessive maritime claims that are inconsistent with international law,” as well as “unilateral actions” that may raise tensions and increase the risk of miscalculation in the region.

In a joint press conference with Albanese at the White House, Biden, in his strongest statement on the South China Sea, said Chinese ships “acted dangerously and unlawfully as our Philippine friends conducted a routine resupply mission within their own – their own exclusive economic zone.”

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