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US defense chief condemns China's water cannon attack in WPS
US defense chief condemns China's water cannon attack in WPS
US defense chief condemns China's water cannon attack in WPS
by Ellicia Del Mundo09 August 2023
Photo courtesy: DND and DoD Facebook pages

US Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Lloyd Austin III on Tuesday talked with its counterpart, Department of Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto 'Gibo' Teodoro Jr. to discuss China's recent water cannons attack on Philippine vessels near Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

In a press statement, DoD said Austin the discussion transpired in a telephone call.

"Secretary Austin condemned the China Coast Guard's use of water cannons and other dangerous maneuvers, which put the safety of Philippine vessels and crew at risk," it said.

"He joined numerous countries in expressing concern about these unsafe operational activities, which undermine the status quo and directly threaten regional peace and stability," the DoD added.


According to the US defense department, Austin reaffirmed to US' commitment to upholding the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling as well as the Mutual Defense Treaty.

It said that the two secretaries also commended the recent bilateral military cooperation of US and PH marines and soldiers in delivering humanitarian reliefs for Typhoon Egay-hit areas at the Lal-lo Airfield in Cagayan, the new Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

"The Secretaries committed to find a near-term opportunity to meet in-person and restated their commitment to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as allies to bring security, prosperity, and stability to the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," the DoD furthered.

The US Department of State first denounced the China Coast Guard's blocking and blasting of water cannons on the Philippine Coast Guard's vessels that were on a resupply mission to armed troops who are stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.


It pointed out that CCG’s action is “inconsistent with international law”, and that this “directly” threatens regional peace and stability.

The US Department of State also reiterated that the US could invoke its mutual defense commitments with the Philippines once there are armed attacks on its public vessels, aircraft, and armed forces, including the PCG.

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