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Germany, France, Australia, Japan bare serious concerns on SCS incident

November 21, 2021 Cristina Lee-Pisco 200 views

THE German, French, Australian and Japan Embassies in Manila expressed “serious concerns” on the latest incident in the South China Sea (SCS) where Chinese Coast Guard ships blocked and fired water cannon on two Filipino boats en route to bring food supplies to Philippine military personnel in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the Spratly Islands.

The said countries, aside from the United States have expressed support to the Philippines and adherence to international law.

German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel said “Germany and France share serious concerns on latest incident caused by 3 Chinese vessels against 2 Philippine supply boats in South China Sea. We call to refrain from conduct that endangers stability in Indo-Pacific.”

“(We) firmly support dialogue between stakeholders, on the basis of international law,” she added.

The German envoy and French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz made the tweet separately on Saturday night.

The Australian Embassy in Manila also asserted the 2016 arbitral ruling in the SCS and expressed solidarity with Manila.

“Australia has consistently expressed support for UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award and an open and inclusive region,”

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson AO said.

“We continue to work with and support our Philippines partners on maritime issues and are concerned with recent destabilizing incidents in the South China Sea,” he added.

The United States and Japanese governments also raised their concerns on the latest incident and called on parties which have conflicting claims in the SCS to adhere to international law.

In a statement, the US State Department reaffirmed its commitment to stand with the Philippines in upholding the rules based international maritime order and said that an armed attack on Philippine public vessels in the SCS would invoke US mutual defense commitments under the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has protested “in the strongest terms” these illegal acts of Chinese Coast Guards on Nov. 16 and told them to “back off”.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian said the Chinese Coast Guards only performed their duties in accordance with the law and to uphold China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order.

He added both China and the Philippines are “in communication” on the issue.