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US military ‘very concerned’ over Beijing’s actions in South China Sea

US military 'very concerned' over Beijing's actions in South China Sea
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Apr 9, 2024 5:03 PM

U.S. military officer Admiral John Aquilino expresses concerns about recent incidents between Chinese and Philippine vessels near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands

The senior U.S. military officer stationed in the Pacific region voiced serious concerns Tuesday on the latest events in the South China Sea issue, referring to Beijing’s “dangerous” behavior after clashes with Philippine warships.

In a speech in Sydney, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral John Aquilino expressed his concerns about recent incidents between Chinese and Philippine vessels near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

“I’m very concerned about what’s happening at the Second Thomas Shoal,” said Aquilino, adding: “I’m very, very concerned about the direction it’s going.”

China and its neighbors have been engaged in tense standoffs over different islands, atolls, reefs, and shoals in the southwest Pacific as a result of China’s long-standing attempts to exert authority over a sizable chunk of the region.

There have been two ship incidents involving Chinese and Philippine vessels close to the Second Thomas Shoal in the last month. There have also been allegations of Chinese ships deploying water cannons against Philippine boats.

The region, which is a resource-rich maritime crossroads for regional commerce, is claimed by both China and the Philippines.

In reaction to China’s efforts, the Philippines’ treaty partner, the United States, has declared its unwavering support for the country in Southeast Asia.

China’s “unilateral” activities were considered “dangerous, illegal, and destabilizing” to the area, Aquilino reiterated on Tuesday.

“What’s next and how far are they willing to go in that area?” Aquilino questioned while China says the Second Thomas Shoal, also known as Ren’ai Reef, is part of its wide zone of control, known as the “nine-dash line,” which stretches across almost the whole South China Sea.

An international tribunal ruled in 2016 that Beijing’s naval operations were infringing on the sovereignty of the Philippines and rejected China’s historical claims to the area due to a lack of legal support. 

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:36 PM