mandag 25. mars 2024

Blinken stands by US’ ‘ironclad commitment’ to defend Philippines amid fears of China conflict

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday reiterated the United States’ “ironclad commitment” to defend the Philippines as rising tensions with China in the South China Sea raise fears of a broader regional conflict.

Stability in the region is seen as being increasingly threatened by clashes between Chinese coast guard and maritime militia units and Philippine vessels around disputed features in the waterway. In the most recent confrontation two weeks ago, a Chinese coast guard vessel used a water cannon against a Philippine boat, shattering its glass panel and injuring four Filipino sailors.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Philippine counterpart in Manila, Blinken said the allies “have a shared concern about the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) actions that threaten our common vision for a free, open Indo-Pacific, including in the South China Sea and in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.”