US moves to counter Beijing’s land claims — RT World News
Vice President Kamala Harris has arrived in the Philippines to visit an area bordering the disputed waters of the South China Sea
US Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the Philippines for a visit meant to demonstrate Washington’s support for Manila and other Southeast Asian allies in their territorial disputes with China.
Harris arrived Sunday evening for a red carpet welcome in Manila after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Thailand. She is due to meet President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday for talks on strengthening security and economic ties, then fly to the island chain of Palawan on Tuesday, which borders the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Harris will become the highest ranking US official to ever visit Palawan. His trip marks the latest effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to push back against Beijing’s territorial claims in the Spratly region, where China has dredged the seabed to create artificial islands with airstrips and launchers. missiles.
Parts of the Spratleys are claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. Washington has also sought to enforce freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, home to an estimated $5 trillion in annual shipping traffic, as well as rich deposits of oil and natural gas.
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“This visit demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to stand with our Philippine ally to uphold the rules-based international maritime order in the South China Sea, support maritime livelihoods, and fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing”, A senior White House official told reporters while previewing the vice president’s trip last week.
The message is that you can count on the United States. We are, we are a friend and a partner.
Asked what message the administration intended to send to Beijing, the unidentified official replied: “China can take whatever message it wants. The message to the region is that the United States is a member of the Indo-Pacific, we are committed, we are committed to the security of our allies in the region.
Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez agreed, telling The Associated Press: “The message they are trying to get across to the Chinese is that ‘we stand with our allies like the Philippines on these disputed islands.’ This visit is an important step to show how seriously the United States takes this situation.”
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Beijing has claimed sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and surrounding waters as falling within its “nine-dash line.” During a visit to Southeast Asia last year, Harris accused China of “coercion” and “intimidation.”