US Vows to Defend Philippines If China Attacks

Following a February 6 incident in the South China Sea, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to aiding the Philippines in defending against a Chinese attack.

According to witnesses, the Philippine patrol ship BRP Malapascua was unable to resupply soldiers stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal because of a blockade made up of Chinese coast guard and maritime militia boats.

At least one coast guard vessel targeted the Philippine vessel from 150 yards out with a military-grade laser, momentarily rendering some crew members blind. In August 2022, Chinese ships prevented a resupply operation to the same region, but they did not use lasers.

The Filipino ship was allegedly trespassing in Chinese seas, according to Wang Wenbin, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He also stated that the Chinese warships replied properly and with caution.

The event took place about a month after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Filipino President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. met in Beijing to discuss bilateral relations. His worries about “the increasing frequency and intensity of actions by China against the Philippine coast guard and fishermen” were discussed during a meeting with the Chinese ambassador in Manila this month.

Japan, whose military ties the US has lately increased as part of a larger attempt to restrain Chinese growth, also denounced China’s deployment of a laser.

“All states should respect maritime order based on international law. We firmly oppose any action that increases tensions,” Koshikawa Kazuhiko, the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines, stated.

The Chinese Embassy in Beijing received a telegram from Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs denouncing the assault ship and its use of a laser, adding to the almost 200 diplomatic grievances filed by Filipino authorities against Chinese ships and planes in 2022.

This summer, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Beijing to abide by a 2016 arbitration decision that rejects China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea region while reminding Beijing of America’s obligations under the treaty. The warning was mostly ineffective.

Under the direction of former Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who was generally pro-China and anti-US, relations between the two countries have gotten closer in recent years. While China continues to intrude on territory near the island country and meddle with its military and fishing business, this is not the case with PBBM, which has taken steps to increase collaboration with Washington.




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