(RepublicanView.org) – Chinese officials have accused the US of trespassing in the South China Sea as a territorial dispute with the Philippines intensifies. Second Thomas Shoal, known as Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines, is controlled by the Filipino government but is part of the Spratly Islands archipelago, over which China claims ownership.
When the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a US warship, sailed close to the archipelago without Chinese permission, the communist state said it amounted to “a serious infringement of China’s sovereignty and national security.” A spokesperson for China’s People’s Liberation Army claimed that the US is deliberately stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. An American military spokesperson denied this and said its ships were merely carrying out routine exercises in the region.
This tension has arisen amid the feud between China and the Philippines, which worsened when Chinese coast guard vessels surrounded Filipino boats in November, impeding their movement.
Around 38 Chinese boats encircled Filipino vessels during a four-day stand-off. China even sprayed a Filipino motorboat with a water cannon when its operators tried to bring supplies to a Philippine military ship posted near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. Since the incident, the US has increased its presence in the vicinity.
The Philippines is one of America’s most important regional allies, and the two countries have enjoyed a long and friendly partnership – one that the Biden administration solidified in January this year. US foreign affairs and defense officials met in Manila, the Filipino capital, for the Philippines-United States Bilateral Strategic Dialogue. The nations reaffirmed their commitment to the alliance and reiterated the “importance of maintaining and promoting an international law-based maritime order in the South China Sea.”
Leaders from both countries also agreed to strengthen trade arrangements, cooperate in the fight against cyber threats, and promote “high-quality, private sector-led infrastructure investment” to expand business and educational opportunities.
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