The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke out in favour of the Philippines after “China’s maritime militia” gathered Chinese warships at the boomerang-shaped Whitsun Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
Blinken who gave the support on Monday, March 29, 2021, through his official Twitter account said the United States will stand by its allies and protect the international rules-based order.
Meanwhile, the development has heightened tensions in the South China Sea, which have been building for some time.
Air patrols by the Philippine Air Force have been performed over Chinese fishing vessels on the reef.
According to the report, the Philippine Air Force has repeatedly requested Beijing’s withdrawal from the region.
When about 220 vessels were first spotted at the Whitsun Reef earlier this month, it sparked a diplomatic row.
The Philippine foreign ministry has filed a diplomatic complaint against China in response to the Chinese warships, and Philippine navy and coast guard ships have been deployed in the region to track the situation.
Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the country is prepared to preserve its national sovereignty and safeguard its marine resources.
Philippines threatened to order its navy to shoot down any possible Chinese aggression after China passed a coast guard law allowing it to fire at vessels in territories claimed by the communist nation.
China asserts jurisdiction over almost the entire South China Sea, with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan have overlapping territorial claims.