Beijing: China on Friday voiced “resolute opposition” to the US-Philippines joint patrols in the South China Sea, saying the “harmful” move will flare regional contradictions and damage peace and stability in the disputed territory.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spelled out China’s stance after the Pentagon said that US-Philippine joint patrols in the South China Sea will occur “regularly”.
The ministry said China expresses “resolute opposition against infringement of China’s sovereignty and security by any country in any form”.
“The military exchanges … should not target a third party, not to mention supporting some countries to provoke China’s sovereignty and security, flaring regional contradictions and damaging regional peace and stability,” the Foreign Ministry told state-run ‘China Daily’.
“The joint patrols between the United States and the Philippines in the South China Sea has led to militarisation in the region, which is harmful to regional peace and stability,” said a statement of the Chinese Defence Ministry.
The statement came after the US said yesterday it had launched joint South China Sea patrols with the Philippines and that 275 troops and five attack aircraft will remain in the Philippines temporarily.
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter confirmed in Manila yesterday that the US and the Philippines had already conducted such patrols.
“The Chinese military will pay close attention to the situation, and resolutely defend China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests,” the statement said.
The ministry said the US and the Philippines’ were strengthening military alliance, increasing frontline military deployment and holding joint military drills with specific targets reflected cold-war mentality and it went against peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“We urge the parties concerned to sincerely respect the regional countries’ efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” it said.
Beijing will follow developments, and general stability has been maintained in the South China Sea “through joint efforts by China and relevant countries”, the ministry officials told the daily.
Reporting on the US-Philippines joint patrols, Global Times said the “US moves to include India and Philippines in mini NATO”.
The US moves around the South China Sea show that it wants to include India and the Philippines into its mini-NATO framework in the Asia-Pacific region, Liu Feng, a Hainan-based expert on the South China Sea, told the ‘Global Times’.