Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
HomeAsiaUS backs Philippines call for China to respect law of the sea

US backs Philippines call for China to respect law of the sea

'Quick read' news summary

The U.S. has spoken up in support of the Philippines amid China’s increased assertiveness in the South China Sea, which Washington says shows a “continuing disregard” for other claimants.

A U.S. spokesman said in a strongly-worded statement late on Monday that the United States “supports the Philippines’ continued calls upon the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to respect the international law of the sea in the South China Sea, as reflected in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, and its legal obligations pursuant to the 2016 arbitral ruling.”

The statement said the reported “escalating swarms” of Chinese vessels in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the Spratly Islands “interfere with the livelihoods of Philippine fishing communities.”

They “also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region,” the statement said.

Six parties – Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan – hold claims over parts of the South China Sea but Beijing’s claim is by far the biggest, at up to 90% of the sea.

From earlier this month, Manila has reported a large number of Chinese vessels “swarming” near Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the part of the South China Sea that the Philippines calls West Philippine Sea.

Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal, although located within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), are also claimed by China which calls them Houteng Jiao and Xianbin Jiao.

Beijing claims that they have been China’s traditional fishing grounds since ancient times and sends ships

The U.S. has spoken up in support of the Philippines amid China’s increased assertiveness in the South China Sea, which Washington says shows a “continuing disregard” for other claimants. They “also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region,” the statement said. From earlier this month, Manila has reported a large number of Chinese vessels “swarming” near Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the part of the South China Sea that the Philippines calls West Philippine Sea.

Read different perspectives