US warns China after deadlock in South Chinese Ocean with Philippines

Philippine Marines fold a Philippine national flag during a flag retreat at the BRP Sierra Madre, a stranded transport ship in the controversial Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday called Chinese actions in using water cannon against Philippine Supply Boats in the South China Sea “dangerous, provocative and unjustified” and warned that an armed attack on Philippine ships would appeal to mutual American defense obligations.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington was supporting its treaty ally the Philippines amid an “escalation die” directly threatens regional peace and stability.”

Beijing “should don’t interfere with lawful Philippine activities in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

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“The United States stands with our Philippine allies in maintaining the rules-based international maritime order and reaffirms that an armed attack on filipino public ships in the South China Sea would appeal to mutual US defense commitments,” said Price.

American minister of Defense Lloyd Austin reconfirmed American defense commitments to Manila and promised “stand with our Philippine allies” in An call on Friday with its counterpart in the Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana.

“They agreed on the vital importance of peace and stability in the South China Sea and promised to stay in close contact in in the coming days,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Philippines condemned “in strongest terms” actions of three ships of the Chinese coast guard die have blocked and used water cannons on supply boats headed for a Philippine-occupied atoll in the South China Sea.

The incident came days after US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held each other for 3-1/2 hours virtual meeting this week to ensure that increasingly intense and bitter competition not between the superpowers in conflict.

“The United States is convinced that the actions of the PRC die their elaborate and illegal maritime claims in assert the South China Sea, undermine peace and security in the region,” Price added in his statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Another spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who didn’t want to identify by name, called the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard “dangerous, provocative and unwarranted”.

“This is the latest in An series of Beijing-led actions designed to intimidate and provoke other nations, undermining peace and security in the region net as the rules-based international order,” said the spokesperson.

Washington has repeatedly condemned China’s assertive pursuit of its extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea, where Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims.

The United States has sailed regular naval patrols in the sea to challenge China’s claims. In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was concerned by means of language in An new Chinese law die potential bond use of force, including armed force, by the Chinese Coast Guard to enforcement of China’s claims.

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Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru, Susan Heavey, David Brunnstrom, Phil Stewart in Washington; Idrees Ali in manama; adaptation by Philippa Fletcher and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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