| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

US asks Beijing to stop ‘dangerous’ South China Sea conduct

The United States criticized China for meddling in the Philippines’ maritime activities and disrupting regional stability. The U.S. urged Beijing to cease its “dangerous and destabilizing conduct” in the South China Sea.
The statement comes after a Philippine boat and Chinese Coast Guard ship collided near a contested reef earlier on Sunday, the second such confrontation in the disputed sea in consecutive days.

The two Asian nations have traded blame over the incident which took place while Manila’s vessels were on a resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal where its soldiers were stationed in a deliberately grounded navy vessel.

“Obstructing supply lines to this long standing outpost and interfering with lawful Philippines maritime operations undermines regional stability,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

China lays sweeping claims in the South China Sea, including waters and islands near the shores of its neighbors. It has ignored a 2016 international tribunal ruling that its assertions have no legal basis.

The United States has urged China to comply with the arbitral ruling.

Philippines decries ‘violation’ of international law
Meanwhile during the weekend, the Chinese coast guard asked the Philippines to stop its “provocative acts,” saying China would continue to carry out “law-enforcement activities” in its waters.

On Sunday, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that the “aggression and provocations perpetrated by the China coast guard and their Chinese maritime militia” against Philippine vessels and personnel over the weekend have “further steeled our determination to defend and protect our nation’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea.”

“No one but the Philippines has a legitimate right or legal basis to operate anywhere in the West Philippine Sea. The illegal presence in our waters and dangerous actions against our citizens is an outright and blatant violation of international law and the rules-based international order,” he added in his statement published on social media.

On Monday, the Philippines Foreign Ministry said it has summoned China’s ambassador, Huang Xilian, following the confrontations.