July 19, 2024

Ferrum College : Iron Blade Online

Complete Canadian News World

The US Secretary of Defense accuses China of harassing the Philippines

The US Secretary of Defense accuses China of harassing the Philippines

Stay informed with free updates

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin accused China of seriously harassing the Philippines, in a speech to defense officials in the Indo-Pacific region that affirmed Washington’s firm commitment to the region’s security.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue Defense Forum in Singapore, Austin pointed to China’s aggressive actions toward the Philippines, which included using water cannons to try to prevent resupply missions at Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed atoll.

“The harassment the Philippines has faced is serious — plain and simple,” Austin said. His comments came a day after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. warned before the annual defense forum that China was engaging in “coercive and illegal actions.” [and] Aggressive activity towards his country.

“President Marcos spoke eloquently last night about the rule of law in the South China Sea. And he is right,” Austin said. “Every nation, large or small, has the right to its own maritime resources and to sail and operate freely wherever international law permits.”

Austin’s comments came a day after his first meeting with China’s defense minister since late 2022. The Pentagon chief said he had a “frank discussion” with Dong Jun, who was appointed defense minister in Beijing in December.

Marcos told the forum on Friday that any deliberate action by China that led to the death of a Filipino national would be very close to an “act of war.” The United States also informed Beijing that the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty applies to the Sierra Madre, a ship anchored on Second Thomas Shoal within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

See also  Hundreds of people are missing as the death toll from forest fires in Chile reaches 123.

Asked after his speech about Marcos’ comments, Austin declined to specify what might trigger the defense treaty, but stressed the importance of the alliance. “Our commitment to the Mutual Defense Treaty is strict. There are no questions, no exceptions,” Austin said.

“What we are doing and what we continue to do is make sure that doesn’t happen. . . . Our goal is to make sure we don’t allow things to get out of control unnecessarily.”

In his speech, Austin outlined initiatives the United States has taken over the past three years to strengthen alliances and create small groups of diverse allies to strengthen security in the region. He said Washington was “deeply committed” to the Indo-Pacific region.

“We’re all in. We’re not going anywhere,” Austin said.

In an earlier exchange during the event, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Paparo, rebuked Cui Tiankai, China’s former ambassador to the United States, for accusing Washington of stirring up tension in the region by forming “blocs” and focusing with its allies on need. To enhance deterrence.

“Mr. Ambassador, my dear friend, you are speaking as if all the participants here want to fight,” Paparo said. “This is definitely the last thing we want to do. We are a life insurance policy against fighting.”

Asked by a Chinese military officer after his speech whether the United States was trying to create a NATO-style bloc in the Indo-Pacific region, Austin said: “Like-minded countries with similar values ​​and a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” We work together to achieve that vision. . . “We will continue to do these kinds of things in the future.”

See also  Live coronavirus updates and omicron variant news

In his remarks, Austin said the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region — including Japan, Australia, the Philippines and South Korea — were engineering a historic “convergence” of their defense interests by creating “a set of overlapping and complementary initiatives and institutions” that would strengthen military cooperation and develop New capabilities and enhanced security.