The United States has strongly condemned the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) in the South China Sea, expressing solidarity with Manila in the face of what it deems as “reckless behavior.” The CCG’s obstruction of a Philippine resupply mission to Ayungin, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, has raised concerns.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has labeled the actions of the CCG as “excessive and provocative.” It reported that on August 5th, the CCG used water cannons and physically blocked a chartered supply vessel en route to Ayungin Shoal, where a routine troop rotation and resupply mission was scheduled.

Issuing a statement through the US Embassy in Manila, the US Department of State (USDS) urged China to uphold the 2016 arbitral ruling and emphasized the importance of respecting freedom of navigation, a fundamental right applicable to all nations.

Furthermore, the United States reiterated its commitment to the defense of the Philippines. It underlined that any armed aggression against Philippine public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces, including those belonging to the Philippine Coast Guard in the South China Sea, would trigger the mutual defense obligations outlined in Article 4 of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

In addressing the incident, the USDS criticized the actions of People’s Republic of China (PRC) ships for impeding the Philippines’ legitimate exercise of high seas freedom of navigation. This interference not only compromised the safety of Philippine vessels and crew but also jeopardized regional stability.

In summary, the United States has condemned the disruptive actions of the Chinese Coast Guard, expressed unwavering support for the Philippines, and underscored the importance of respecting international laws and norms in the South China Sea.