Blinken, Manalo discuss Chinese ‘escalatory acts’

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Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken (Photo by Rico Borja)

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo spoke with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday about China’s “escalatory actions” in the West Philippine Sea, the State Department said.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the two top diplomats discussed China’s “dangerous and irresponsible actions to deny the Philippines from executing a lawful maritime operation in the South China Sea” last June 17.

“Secretary Blinken emphasized that the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) actions undermine regional peace and stability and underscored the United States’ ironclad commitments to the Philippines under our Mutual Defense Treaty,” he said.

READ: AFP chief: ‘Great restraint’ prevented escalation of WPS tension

The incident on June 17 involved the Chinese Coast Guard obstructing the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ humanitarian rotation and resupply operations at the BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) in Ayungin Shoal.

During what it called a “brazen act of aggression”, the AFP said the Chinese employed physical attacks, bladed weapons, blaring sirens and blinding strobe lights.

Despite facing overwhelming numbers and harassment from the CCG, the AFP said the Filipino troops fought back and defended their position in a professional manner, preventing escalation.

On top of this, Manalo and Blinken exchanged views on how to build on the momentum from recent high-level bilateral engagements between the two states “on issues of shared concern”.

In May, Manalo said Blinken will visit Manila soon as the two countries work on convening the next 2+2 meeting. (PNA) 

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