Following two Chinese ships that obstructed and crashed with two Filipino ships in the South China Sea, the US announced on Monday that it will protect the Philippines against further threats in accordance with a decades-old treaty.
Concerned about the Chinese actions off the Second Thomas Shoal, the US and its allies issued a statement. Washington particularly reiterated its threat to protect the Philippines under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty in the event that any of the country’s ships, aircraft, or armed forces—including its coast guard—are attacked with weapons anywhere in the South China Sea.
The State Department said in a statement released by its embassy in Manila that the Americas stood with our Philippine supporters in the face of the People’s Republic of China Coast Guard and sea militia’s dangerous and illegal actions in blocking an October 22 Philippine replenishment task to Second Thomas Shoal.
US State Department
The State Department noted that China probably broke international law by deliberately messing with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of their high seas freedom of navigation and accused Chinese ships of the incidents.
Articles IV and V of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Agreement require mutual defense commitments, which were reiterated in May when Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Philippine Secretary of the Department of National Defense Carlito Galvez created the Bilateral Defense Guidelines and attacked any public vessel, aircraft, or armed forces in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, such as their Coast Guards.
In order to maintain autonomy in navigation and patrol the waterways, Washington has sent troops to the contested sea. Beijing is offended by the move and has urged the US to cease interfering.
According to Philippine Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela, on Sunday, roughly five Chinese Coast Guard ships, eight accompanying vessels, and two navy ships formed a blockade to stop two Philippine Coast Guard vessels and two boats from delivering food and other materials to Filipino forces based at Second Thomas Shoal aboard a marooned navy ship.
According to Tarriela, a Chinese coast guard ship, and another vessel separately attacked a supply boat and one of the Philippine coast guard ships during the stalemate.
The Philippine vessels were held accountable for the collisions on Sunday by the Chinese coast guard.
China again emphasizes to the Philippines that it will take seriously its severe concerns, keep its word, refrain from acting recklessly or provocatively in the sea, cease attacking and defaming China without cause, and remove the illegitimately “grounded” warship as soon as feasible. The Chinese Embassy in Manila cited Zhou Zhiyong as saying
Following the crashes on Sunday, Philippine diplomats called a representative of the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Monday to express their severe disapproval. Officials stated that although no casualties were noticed, the encounters caused damage to a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a naval personnel’s wooden-hulled supply boat.
In order to discuss the most recent conflicts in the disputed waters, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called an emergency conference with the defense secretary and other senior military and security officials in response to the collisions.
Following the meeting, China was chastised by Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro in a press conference for using “brute force” in the area. He added that Filipino crew members were in danger due to China’s “aggression”.
In negotiations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on a potential nonaggression treaty and a code of conduct, the Philippines also intends to voice its concerns about the risky movements of the Chinese ships in order to avert a major armed clash in the South China Sea. Due to a lack of permission to publicly discuss the specifics of the talks, two Philippine officials informed The Associated Press that Beijing is hosting the three-day consultations beginning on Monday.