US, Japan and Philippines call out China at UN over disputed sea tensions

2 months ago 41

NEW YORK – The foreign ministers of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines have criticised China at the United Nations, as its ships continue to shadow Manila’s resupply missions to a remote military outpost in the disputed South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, and Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo on Friday held a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

US Department of State spokesman Matthew Miller said the foreign ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, where Beijing has competing territorial claims with the Philippines and Japan, respectively.

They zeroed in on China’s recent aggressive behaviour against the Philippines’ resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef in the Spratly Islands where a handful of Filipino soldiers have been living on the decrepit World War II-era warship BRP Sierra Madre.

The ship was intentionally grounded there in 1999 to help assert the Philippines’ sovereignty claim over the area.

“The three countries will continue to call out behaviour that is inconsistent with international law, including the People’s Republic of China’s recent actions near Second Thomas Shoal that interfered with the Philippines’ lawful exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” said Mr Miller.

The US, Japan and Philippines also agreed to continue working together “as equal and sovereign partners, for a free and open Indo-Pacific region that upholds international law”.

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