The Pentagon said Thursday that it is “keeping all options open” as it grows hundreds of Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, where diplomatic lines with Beijing are being contested.
Tensions over resource-rich waters have skyrocketed in recent weeks after the detection of more than 200 Chinese boats on the Spratly Islands’ Wit Sun Reef, which China and the Philippines claim to be rivals.
China, which claims almost the entire ocean, has denied repeated proceedings by the Philippines for the withdrawal of vessels, saying Manila has illegally entered the exclusive economic zone.
President Rodrigo Duterte appeared reluctant to confront China on this issue, but one of his chief aides could ignite a boat’s “unwanted hostility” on Monday. Warned.
“As the situation (in the South China Sea) progresses, we have all the options to manage the situation, including leveraging partnerships with other countries, such as the United States,” said Arsenio Andron, a Pentagon spokesman. Keep it open. “
Andlong’s comment came after the United States reminded China of Washington’s treaty obligations to the Philippines in the event of an attack in the waters.
“Armed attacks on Philippine troops, official vessels and aircraft in the Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea, will trigger obligations under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday.
“We share the concerns of our Filipino allies about the ongoing grouping of Chinese maritime militias reported near the Whitson Reef,” Mr. Price said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
Many of the boats found on Whitson Reef on March 7 have since been scattered throughout or partially claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam in the Spratly Islands.
Beijing often called for the so-called nine-dash line to justify its apparent historical right to most of the South China Sea, ignoring the 2016 International Court’s decision declaring that this claim was unfounded.
Elected in 2016, Duterte put off the sea controversy as it sought closer economic ties with its neighbors, the Philippine superpowers, and struck a course independent of its former colonial ruler, the United States. did.
Philippines Keeping ‘Options Open’ On South China Sea: Govt Source link Philippines Keeping ‘Options Open’ On South China Sea: Govt