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China Calls Out USA For Fueling South China Sea Tensions With The Philippines

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China is blaming the US for fueling tensions in the Asia-Pacific, particularly by backing South-East Asian regions in their stance over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. On November 23, 2020, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien visited the Philippines and while he was there, he backed the country in its maritime feud with China.

During his trip to Manila, O’Brien told the Philippines and Vietnam, both countries in disputes with Beijing cover the South China Sea: “We’ve got your back”. He also reiterated the US commitment to self-ruled Taiwan.

China was quick to respond to O’Brien’s backing of the Philippines. Taking notice of the event, the Chinese Embassy in Manila posted a statement on its website reading, “We firmly oppose these remarks which are full of Cold War mentality and wantonly incite confrontation.” The embassy also went ahead to denounce the United States for furthering its selfish interests at the cost of peace and harmony in the Asia-Pacific regions.

China claims ownership of almost all of the South China Sea under its so-called nine-dash line. International courts have, however, ruled the line - which overlaps with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia – illegal. Yet despite the legal status, China, in recent years, has built several military bases on the disputed shoals and outcrops.

This isn’t the first time that the USA has contested China’s authority over the South China sea. In the past, the country has repeatedly sent warships through the area to highlight freedom of navigation in one of the world’s busiest trading routes .

Source: Al Jazeera