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U.S. won't allow China to 'rewrite rules' in South China Sea

MANILA, Philippines – The United States will not allow China to "rewrite the rules" in the South China Sea, a US defense official said on Thursday, August 16.  

"We'll not allow them to rewrite the rules of the road or change international law," US Defense Assistant Secretary Randall Schriver said in a roundtable interview with reporters at the US embassy in Manila.

He was responding to questions on a US Navy plane flying over the South China Sea which was reportedly asked by the Chinese military to leave. 

"We'll fly, sail, and operate where international law allows.... Our guidance will be if we are operating legally, we will continue to operate legally," Schriver said. 

He said the incident reported by CNN is not the first time China challenged the US and its allies' forces passing through the South China Sea. (READ: 2 years after winning, Duterte refuses to enfoce Hague ruling

"I think we need to be consistent, and the Chinese need to understand that this kind of challenge will not result in change in our behavior," Schriver said.  

What will the US do? The United States will continue with its routine patrols in the region. 

"If the Chinese want to expand their control through this type of challenge and these types of query, queries demostrating that, that has no impact or effect on how we operate," the US officialsaid. 

Schriver also said that the US is looking at the capacity development of their allies in the region. Their help will vary per country, he said. 

He said that, so far, many countries need "radars" and "aircraft" used for maintaining maritime domain. (READ: US official warns PH vs buying Russian equipment

For the Philippines, its oldest ally in Asia, the US will continue joint exercises like the yearly war games Balikatan which enhances interoperability between their armed forces. – Rappler.com

 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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