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In ship visit in Japan, VP Harris highlights 'disturbing' actions in South China Sea

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In ship visit in Japan, VP Harris highlights 'disturbing' actions in South China Sea
US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the ship docked in Yokosuka while she was in Japan for the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Facebook / Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka

MANILA, Philippines — US Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized Washington’s role in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region as she noted China's moves that she said were “undermining key elements” of the international rules-based order.

Harris noted current global threats to peace and security, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, on top of the issues concerning China.

"China has flexed its military and economic might to coerce and intimidate its neighbors and we have witnessed disturbing behavior in the East China Sea and in the South China Sea, and, most recently, provocations across the Taiwan Strait," Harris told sailors on board. 

China has been ignoring a 2016 Hague ruling that invalidates its sweeping nine-dash-line claim and puts the West Philippine Sea in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Beijing continues to conduct drills and has reportedly been threatening Philippine ships in the area. 

Since the arbitral court ruling, the Philippines has filed over 400 diplomatic protests with China.

READ: US backs Philippines on WPS, warns that Washington will back Manila should there be armed attacks

Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan irked China, as it views the visit as a violation of the One-China principle and soon conducted military drills near the self-gvoerning island. Pelosi was the first senior Washington official to visit Taiwan in decades.

READ: China set to wrap up largest-ever Taiwan military drills

“As President Joe Biden said last week at the UN General Assembly, the United States does not seek conflict with China, and we do not seek a Cold War,” Harris said.

“In fact, we will work with every willing nation to solve global challenges.”

READ: What the Philippines can learn from China's reaction to Pelosi's Taiwan visit

Harris visited the ship while she was in Japan for the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. According to the US Navy, she also met the families’ of the sailors onboard.

"Your presence here defends international law, including freedom of navigation, both of which are vital for America’s security and America’s economy," Harris told sailors, emphasizing that the US is a "proud Pacific power."

KAMALA HARRIS

UNITED STATES

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