Philippines say it protested China 'harassment' of navy boat

01 June, 2018, 17:38 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has in recent weeks been highly critical of alleged abuse suffered by some of the two million Filipino workers in the Middle East

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT-U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the United States would continue to confront what Washington sees as China's militarization of islands in the South China Sea, despite drawing condemnation from Beijing for an operation in the region over the weekend. "There's only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff them or state their resentment of them".

He added that the area was regarded as global waters and many countries wanted to exercise their freedom of navigation.

The three senators stated in their letter that China's militarization of the South China Sea islands includes deployment of weapons on artificially-fortified islets and reefs and that this weapons activity is increasing China's ability to project power into the Pacific Ocean.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is as mercurial as Trump: He has in the past threatened to ride a jetski to disputed islands in the South China Sea and plant a flag to keep China at bay but he also claimed to be Chinese as part of his ongoing flattery of the Chinese leadership.

Though the US' latest freedom of navigation operation was likely planned months in advance, experts said it was suggestive of the US' attempts to pursue a harder line against China in the South China Sea.

"At the proper time, we will take full advantage of the tribunal ruling, even as China refuses to recognize this, to serve as basis for the country's exercise of sovereignty and jurisdiction over features that are in the Philippine territorial water", he added.

National security and defence experts have said that the military operations being conducted by the Pentagon are mainly symbolic and that they have no impact on how China will behave going forward.

"We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that's the way we do business in the world", he said.

Our diplomats are robustly engaged on this.

More news: Iran Sets May 31 Deadline In Scramble To Salvage Nuclear Deal

"They can not blame the public if there are doubts and low confidence on their words since what they are disclosing and what is happening on the ground are two different stories", Alejano said.

The Chinese military has also installed jamming technology in the South China Sea, escalating tensions.

Previously in a speech in Davao City in February, he said: "This is not the time to be fighting over the South China Sea because it will only lead to war".

"This administration does not and will not abandon the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea disputes", he stressed.

Eight senators signed Senate Resolution 761 that also urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest against China for its recent actions in the disputed waters.

The Pentagon first invited China to attend in 2014, in a gesture of goodwill and improving U.S. -Sino military relations.

Dr Chong said he believes FONOPs by the Quad can help send signals to China that "This is an open ocean, we have rights to go through under global law".

Mattis was heading to Hawaii to attend a change-of-command ceremony for the USA military's Pacific Command.

Harris has been nominated to become the next US ambassador to South Korea.

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