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Blinken expresses solidarity with Philippines over China's maritime actions

Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday spoke with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo about China's actions in the South China Sea. The conversation followed what the U.S. called China's " dangerous and irresponsible" actions to deny the Philippines from executing a lawful maritime operation. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday spoke with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo about China's actions in the South China Sea. The conversation followed what the U.S. called China's " dangerous and irresponsible" actions to deny the Philippines from executing a lawful maritime operation. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday spoke with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo about China's actions against the Philippines in the South China Sea.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement, "Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo about the People's Republic of China's escalatory actions against the Philippines in the South China Sea. Their discussion followed the PRC's dangerous and irresponsible actions to deny the Philippines from executing a lawful maritime operation in the South China Sea on June 17."

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Miller added that Blinken stressed that China's actions "undermine regional peace and stability and underscored the United States' ironclad commitments to the Philippines under our Mutual Defense Treaty."

Blinken and Manalo also discussed how to build momentum from the recent high-level bilateral agreements on a range of issues.

Blinken's comments come after a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed a Philippine supply ship near the South China Sea's Spratly Islands. The State Department on Monday re-affirmed U.S. support for the Philippines.

The State Department said China's "dangerous and deliberate" actions, including use of water cannons and ramming was reckless and threatened regional peace and security.

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As China has built up military presence in the on man-made islands in international waters, the U.S. and allies have protested.

U.S. Navy ships and planes have traversed the international waters and skies above them to assert freedom of navigation under international law.

In May U.S. Marines joined Filipino military forces in naval drills, including a mock battle in a remote territory 100 miles from Taiwan.

In November 2023 the Philippines and the U.S. government condemned the Chinese Coast Guard for confronting a Filipino vessel on a routine resupply mission for troops stationed on the intentionally grounded ship BRP Sierra Madre at Second Thomas Shoal.

China accused the Philippines of entering Chinese waters.

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