WHITE HOUSE SPEAKS

West PH Sea critical to US security

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The situation in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is critical to the national security interest of the United States, the White House has said.

“The President [Barack Obama] has often talked about how critically important the security situation is in the South China Sea. It’s critical to the national security of the United States,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying in a report by the Press Trust of India and carried by the Indian Express.

“It’s also critical to the global economy that the free flow of commerce in the South China Sea is something that needs to be maintained,” Earnest said, adding that the US is committed to working with other countries in the region to protect it.

“Because it is a priority, you can expect that the President has been briefed on the latest in this situation and will continue to be,” he replied in response to a question.


A State department official said the US is “carefully” monitoring China’s military developments.

“We continue to urge China to exhibit greater transparency with respect to its capabilities and to its intentions,” State department spokesman Jeff Rathke said.

“So in conjunction with that, we encourage China to use its military capabilities in a manner that is conducive to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region,” he added.

Washington expressed appreciation for Taiwan’s call on claimants to exercise restraint, to refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and to respect international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea convention.

“With regard to the maritime claims and the claims to sovereignty over land features in the South China Sea, our position is that maritime claims must accord with the Law of the Sea. We have a strong interest in peace and security and in the manner in which claimants address their disputes,” Rathke said.

China’s extensive land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea have contributed to rising tensions, he reiterated and said “under international law it’s clear that land reclamation cannot change the maritime zones of a geographical feature. That would include a territorial sea or an exclusive economic zone. So it’s only naturally formed land features that are entitled to maritime zones.”

PH on its own
Malacañang, meanwhile, said Manila is not solely relying on Washington to address its territorial dispute with China.

Its deputy spokesman, Abigail Valte, on Wednesday said the Philippines has always “stood by [its]own” in resolving the maritime dispute with China.

She added that Manila was able to file an arbitration case against China by considering “what is available to us, especially with regard to legal remedies.”

“It’s not really that we depend solely on one person or one country, but it’s a consideration of what we have,” Valte said.

She was reacting to a statement of Brad Glosserman, the executive director of the Pacific Forum for Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who said, “If you’re relying on America for help, you have a problem.”

”Well, obviously, that is the person’s opinion. However, as you can see in crafting our position when it comes to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea [South China Sea], the country, the administration does take into consideration several factors before we had arrived at a decision to file the memorial before the arbitral tribunal,” Valte said.

She added that the Philippines values not just the support of the US, but also of other countries in its territorial dispute with China.

Marcos: Try backchanneling
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has urged the government to explore backchannel diplomacy to defuse the tension between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Marcos said the government could tap Filipino businessmen to reach out to their counterparts in China and help in asking the Chinese government to stop its aggressive position on the disputed territories.

He added that backchanneling could persuade China to stop its massive reclamations and aggressive stance in the contested territories to give way for a dialogue to resolve the conflict.

In 2012, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th was tapped to hold backchannel talks with China to resolve the territorial row over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

Marcos also suggested that Malacanang summon the Chinese ambassador to relay to Beijing the country’s desire for a diplomatic solution amid concern that aggressive activities from any party could spark confrontation in the area.

He said the Philippines will be at the losing end if it is caught in the crossfire in case of a confrontation between the US and China.

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11 Comments

  1. Stephen Bailey on

    We do not, none of us, want to see the new world at the end of a confrontation between China, and the U.S. over West Philippines Sea expansion. It would be horrible beyond belief. China understands this very well, and is using it as a weapon to bolster it’s position. Diplomacy unfortunately, is finished. The ruling party powers in China have made their decision. This is a test of will against the U.S. and it’s allies, including the Phlippines, Japan, Korea, and other ASEAN nations.

    Backchannelling? This will certainly open up opportunities for businesses to do what they do best; find a way to profit from national conflict. Diplomacy. Treaties. Real World Stances that communicate solid intent. This is what we’re left with now.

    Unfortunately.

  2. I disagree with Senator Marcos, its a again a plaster solution. Arbitration is still the best solution before we talk any back channel discussion.

    The mentality of Senator Marcos and Traillanes ( or who that maybe) still advocate this approach where it is prone to bribery and you know Chinese very well. They bribe everyone. Back channelling breeds corruption and you guys are expert on this.

    Please stop these nonsense suggestion from Senators who doesn’t have any brain at all.

    Let the arbitration complete first before you talk.

  3. The straight of malacca is the choke point of ships going to Asia from Europe that’s why the U.S. Fleet is in Singapore , The U.S. A hold the choke point , China lives by TRADE not by conquest and who is the philippin biggest trade partner ? It’s China.

  4. It is still dangerous even if we know that the US will eventually win the war with China because we don’t exactly know the latter’s hidden capabilities. I hope China will realize before its too late that her arrogant behavior will not win peace among its neighbors.

  5. If U.S national security is threaten by those artificial island then China created a problem that will lead to war not only on U.S but other countries who use that sea lane.

  6. Its high time to modernize our military especially our Navy. The Philippines is an archipelago and we have the basic norms to protect our rights and sovereignty. We need another Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose Rizal. May God Bless the Philippines and the Filipino People!

  7. Ikabod Bubwit on

    China will never profit from its aggressive militarization of the West Philippine Sea. Its interests actually lies in the middle-east and not so much in Southeast Asia. If the US ever wants to stop the flow of goods from the Indian Ocean to China the US can easily do so. The US can easily blockade China from both the Pacific Ocean and from the Indian Ocean with its powerful navy. The Chinese intrusions into the West Philippine sea is an insane delusion in trying to protect their access to the sea. China, by the weakness and inexperience of its navy, will never be able to contest the control of the seas from the US. China is just creating a lot of enemies by their insane reclamation.

  8. sonny dela cruz on

    The Philippines cannot diffused the present situation in the West Philippine Sea. This is United States interest at stake. This is now between the United States and China to solve their problems of the navigation and air space use. The United States is so serious to go to war with China. They are now spending BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A DAY to have the 60% of US forces in the Asia-Pacific area. I believe the United States will demand to China to demolished all the structures they built for their military use. The United States does not want military bases in the International sea lane and the air space above it. This is a crucial time for the Chinese to decide, once they shoot any US aircraft, that will be a suicide acts on their part. China will be back to where they belong 50 years ago and PEACE will reign again in the Asia-Pacific region and our fishermen will be able to fish free once again in the West Philippine Sea.

    • agree, dapat hangang maaga ay ipahinto na ang arficial NA ISLA n apurahang ginagawa ng intsek. malaking sagabal ito kung hindi mapipigilan, hindi pwede na lahat ng dadaan sa lugar na iyon para sa kalakalan ay hihingi ng pahintulot sa kanila.

    • ………and this the beginning of the downfall of the communist regime. Can you imagine China is a democratic country? Big ally of the U.S. This is the golden opportunity for the U.S. to seize. China started it, so be it.

    • It was a bad idea back then to wake up this sleeping giant commanded by hard-core Chinese communists by transferring technology, licensing them with patents, etc. Coming from poverty and experiencing good wealth, China now wants to OWN THE WHOLE WORLD, not only the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, whichever. We should have let China SLEEP the rest of her life.