The Philippines on Tuesday backed a U.S. plan to challenge China’s regional claims by stationing a U.S. naval ship near a Chinese – built island in the South China Sea. .
The Philippine State Department says the U.S. plan to send a ship 22 kilometers (14 miles) off the artificial island in the Spratly Islands is “in line with international law and order for the region.”
The U.S. newspaper Navy Times reported last week that the Navy may soon receive approval to sail near the island.
Such a move would strengthen Washington’s position that artificial islands built by China would not be sovereign territory and create a legal case under US law for the US position.
The State Department “will fail to challenge the false claims of sovereignty and lead China to the erroneous conclusion that this order will be undermined and that its claims will be accepted as a false conclusion.” “It is important for the international community to safeguard freedom of navigation and greater travel in the South China Sea,” it said. “This is of great concern to all nations.”
Apart from China and the Philippines, four other states claim ownership of part or all of the South China Sea, a busy route for trade and military vessels. Washington has a policy of not taking sides in regional conflicts, but states that it is in its national interest to navigate and ensure excessive freedom and a peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed concern about the planned US naval security last week.
Former Philippine National Security Adviser Roylo Colas has summoned President Benigno Aquino III to convene a meeting of top security officials to discuss what the country should do if Chinese and US forces are caught in an armed conflict.
“This is a situation where a world power and a growing conflict are going on,” Coles said. “We should not be surprised.”