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US stands with PH

April 30, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 145 views

Amid China Coast Guard, PH vessel near collision

THE United States on Saturday reiterated it is standing with the Philippines amid the latest incident in the Ayungin Shoal where a Chinese Coast Guard blocked Philippine vessels conducting routine patrols in the area.

It also called on China to refrain from its “provocative and unsafe conduct.”

A statement issued by the Office of the Spokesperson of the State Department said “The United States stands with The Philippines in the face of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Coast Guard’s continued infringement upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.”

” Imagery and video recently published in the media is a stark reminder of PRC harassment and intimidation of Philippine vessels as they undertake routine patrols within their exclusive economic zone. We call upon Beijing to desist from its provocative and unsafe conduct. The United States continues to track and monitor these interactions closely.”

The statement added the United States stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order and reaffirms that an armed attack in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea, on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft, including those of the Coast Guard, would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S. Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

On Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called on China to respect the rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea after a Chinese vessel nearly collided with a Philippine ship on April 23 in Ayungin Shoal.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza reiterated the government’s call for China to respect the Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea, as provided by UNCLOS, and refrain from actions that may cause an untoward incident.

Daza noted that the Philippines has the right to conduct maritime patrols in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

She emphasized that the Philippines has the legal right to carry out routine maritime patrols in its territorial waters and EEZ. The deployment of the BRP Malabrigo and BRP Malapascua in the West Philippine Sea from April 18 to 24 was one such mission.

The China Coast Guard’s interference with this routine patrol mission was totally inconsistent with freedom of navigation, and a number of documented incidents also involved highly dangerous maneuvers that were contrary to standard navigational practices, Daza said.

On April 23, in waters around Ayungin Shoal, China Coast Guard vessel No. 5201 came within 50 yards of the BRP Malapascua, blocking the latter’s path and exposing the Philippine vessels’ crew to serious danger.

Similar maneuvers were documented on April 19, involving CCG 5201 and 4202, and the BRP Malapascua while the latter was en route to Ayungin Shoal.