US Secretary of State Blinken Reassures Support to Philippines Against China Attacks in West Philippine Sea

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Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s Call for China to Respect the Philippines’ Territorial Rights

Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s call for China to respect the Philippines’ territorial rights and cease its intrusions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is rooted in the country’s long-standing concerns over China’s aggressive actions in the region.

The Philippines’ Opposition to China’s Incursions in the EEZ

The Philippines has consistently raised its voice against China’s frequent incursions into its EEZ, which is in clear violation of international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Contention over Scarborough Shoal

One of the areas of contention is the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc, which China seized in 2012. This shoal, located within the Philippines’ EEZ, has been a source of tension between the two countries for years. The Philippines has repeatedly called on China to relinquish its occupation of the shoal, which has been militarized and used to assert China’s dominance in the region.

Ayungin Shoal and the Challenge to Philippines’ Sovereignty

Another area of concern is Ayungin Shoal, where the Philippines maintains a military outpost on the BRP Sierra Madre. China’s harassment of resupply missions to this outpost is seen as a direct challenge to the Philippines’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. The outpost, located off the coast of Palawan, is well within the Philippines’ EEZ and serves as a strategic point for the country’s defense in the region.

The Significance of US Defense Commitments

Representative Rodriguez’s emphasis on the US’s defense commitments to the Philippines is significant, as it underscores the importance of international alliances in maintaining stability and security in the region. The US has long been a key ally of the Philippines, and its commitment to support the country in the event of any aggression by China is a welcomed assurance.

US Reaffirmation of Support

The recent statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirming this commitment is seen as a positive step towards addressing the growing concerns over China’s actions in the WPS. It is a clear signal that the US stands firmly with its allies in upholding international law and ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Source: The Manila Times

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