Washington [US]: Highlighting that the US stands with the Philippines amid the latter’s standoff with China, the Biden administration said that it believes that Beijing actions asserting its “expansive and unlawful” South China Sea maritime claims undermine peace and security in the region.
“The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of this escalation that directly threatens regional peace and stability, escalates regional tensions, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law, and undermines the rules-based international order,” Sputnik quoted State Department spokesperson Ned Price as saying. According to Price, Washington “strongly believes that PRC actions asserting its expansive and unlawful South China Sea maritime claims undermine peace and security in the region.”
Three Chinese coastguard ships blocked and first water cannons on two Philippines supply boats within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the disputed South China Sea.
Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin said the incident took place near Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) on November 16 and the Philippine vessels.
“The acts of the Chinese coast guard vessels are illegal,” Locsin said in a statement shared on social media by the Foreign Ministry. “China has no law enforcement rights in and around these areas. They must take heed and back off.”
China claims nearly the entire South China Sea based on its so-called ‘nine-dash line’ that the international court ruled without merit five years ago.
It is not the first incident this year when tensions have escalated between the two countries
Earlier this year, the Philippines complained about the weeks-long presence of dozens of vessels from China’s so-called ‘maritime militia’ at Whitsun Reef, which lies about 320 kilometers (175 nautical miles) west of Palawan Island within its EEZ.