US Amb.on the issue of the SCS: Were not 'retreating', ready to defend Philippines

US Amb.on the issue of the SCS: Were not 'retreating', ready to defend Philippines

The Philippines mutual defense treaty ally has spoken.

In the era where the power and influence of the United States of America in the region seems to have slipped in favor of the awakening dragon that is China, US had to say that it is still here. The rejection of the US military bases in the country could have been the signal for China to dominate the region, an assertion that is very evident now in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea was once the playground of the mighty US navy is already a history, it is now dominated by China’s aggressive expansion with the creation of artificial islands fortified as military bases.   *
The Philippine- US Mutual Defense Treaty was signed in 1951, remains to be the one of the pillars in the alliance between the two countries( photo credit to owner)

In an interview with GMA-7 News to go, US Ambassador to the Philippines said in an interview that “Washington remains fully committed to the region.”

He reiterates that the United States is not “retreating” and giving space to China to fully dominate the Asia-Pacific region.

He further clarifies that there is a perceived shift in US policy and attitude towards Asia, which is creating opportunities for China to flex not only its economic but military muscles.

“There has been a lot of commentary on this but the US is fully committed to the region. We are not going anywhere. What’s important are trade and security. I don’t think it’s accurate to say we’re retreating,” he said.

Kim noted that China’s influence would continue to expand as it poses the challenge on how the US and the region would work with China so that the whole world would benefit from a constructive partnership.

When confronted with the question regarding its support to the Philippines under the Mutual Defense treaty, the Ambassador said: “There’s absolutely no ambiguity about our commitment to defend the Philippines.”

In promoting and protecting international rights such as freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, he said “this is not solely for US benefit.” *

“So much trade goes through that area that if we don’t protect freedom of navigation, I think we will all suffer. We would do whatever is necessary, including conducting freedom of navigation exercises, to make sure that we promote those rights,” Kim said.

Kim, clarified that the US remains supportive of the efforts to come out with a strong set of principles such as the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, which negotiations of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China agreed to open in November of 2017.

report from Philstar





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