The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday criticized the United States (US) over its recent statement defending the Philippines against any military attack in the West Philippines Sea.
On the fifth anniversary of the international arbitral ruling that favored the Philippines and invalidated China’s claim, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea. We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”
“Five years ago, an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention delivered a unanimous and enduring decision firmly rejecting the PRC’s expansive South China Sea maritime claims as having no basis in international law. The Tribunal stated that the PRC has no lawful claim to the area determined by the Arbitral Tribunal to be part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf,” Blinken said.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded, saying America’s statement was “extremely irresponsible.” He added that the US is “stoking disputes” among regional countries and undermines peace and stability.
“The US statement disregards the historical merits and objective facts of the South China Sea issue, violates and distorts international law, and breaks the US government’s long-held public commitment of not taking a position on the South China Sea sovereignty issue,” Lijian said in his regular press briefing.
China lambasts US for defending PH over West Philippine Sea claim
China also maintained it disregards the arbitral tribunal as it “violated the principle of state consent,” Lijian noted.
“The arbitration has major fallacies in fact-finding and application of law and violates UNCLOS and international law. The award of the arbitration is illegal, null, and void. It is nothing more than a piece of waste paper,” Lijian said.
Lijian also said the US government illegally intrudes in China’s territorial waters in the South China Sea.
“On the opposite, the US willfully sends large-scale advanced vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea for military reconnaissance and drills and illegally intrudes into China’s territorial waters and space and water and air space adjacent to islands and reefs,” he said.
“Since the beginning of this year, the US side conducted close-in reconnaissance for nearly 2,000 times and over 20 large-scale military drills on the sea,” Lijian added.