The Disputes Related to the South China Sea- Vice President Kamala Harris says The U.S. will Defend The Philippines
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the Philippines on Tuesday to demonstrate support for the long-time friend and to challenge Beijing’s expanding influence in the region by visiting an island near waters claimed by China.
With this trip, Harris becomes the highest-ranking American official to set foot on the western Philippine island of Palawan, the closest land mass to the contested Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea.
Beijing has claimed practically the entire sea for itself, despite a judgment from an international court saying it has no right to do so. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei have made overlapping territorial claims.
On Tuesday, US Vice President Kamala Harris visited a Philippine island in waters claimed by China to express support for the long-time Washington ally and to offset Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
Philippine Senator Imee Marcos called for a “softer” attitude in the South China Sea
The western Philippine island of Palawan is the closest land to the contested Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea. Harris is the highest-ranking US official ever to visit there.
Beijing has declared its sovereignty over practically the whole sea, despite a judgment from an international court saying that it has no legal standing to do so. Some of it is claimed by the Philippines, some by Vietnam, some by Malaysia, and some by Brunei. In a coastal community, Harris talked with the locals and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard.
At a recent US meeting, philippine Senator Imee Marcos called for a “softer” attitude in the South China Sea. Harris said in a speech that the UN-backed tribunal’s decision to reject China’s claims over the South China Sea must be honored in addition to “international principles and norms.”
She made these remarks while on board a Philippine coastguard ship: “The United States – and the larger international community – have a fundamental stake in the future of this region.” Regarding threats and pressure in the South China Sea, the United States stands with its partner, the Philippines.
Harris reiterated the United States’ “unwavering” promise to protect Philippine ships and planes
Harris’s visit to Palawan follows on the heels of her meeting with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. She reiterated the United States’ “unwavering” promise to protect Philippine ships and planes if they come under assault in the South China Sea.
The United States and the Philippines have maintained a security alliance for decades. The two countries signed a mutual defense treaty and a pact in 2014 known as EDCA, which permits the United States to keep its military’s defense supplies and equipment at five bases in the Philippines.
The implementation of EDCA slowed under former president Rodrigo Duterte. Still, now, with China becoming more forceful, the United States and the Philippines have indicated support for speeding up the process.
Washington is trying to mend fences with Manila because the latter’s help would be invaluable in the case of a regional confrontation, and tensions in the region are increasing due to China’s recent war maneuvers surrounding Taiwan.
Harris was accused by the Chinese state-run Global Times of “fanning the fires of the South China Sea problem.”
The unpredictable Duterte, who favored China above the United States, severely strained ties between the two countries. Marcos has been trying to find a middle ground between the two superpowers that border his country, and he has made it clear that China would not infringe upon Manila’s marine rights.
The director of the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, Jay Batongbacal, stated that Harris’s visit conveyed a “stronger feeling of commitment” to the Philippines’ position on maritime rights but also highlighted the necessity for EDCA’s continuous implementation.
On Tuesday, Harris was accused by the Chinese state-run Global Times of “fanning the fires of the South China Sea problem.” Guests from everywhere in the world are welcome in the Philippines. An editorial emphasized that “we wish to emphasize that any bilateral contacts should not be at the expense of the interests of any third country and regional peace and stability.”
A senior Philippine naval official has charged the Chinese coastguard with “forcibly” grabbing pieces of a rocket that landed in the Spratlys on the eve of Harris’s visit to Palawan.