U.S. ignores China’s rant

China on Sunday accused the United States of “coming all the way from the other side of the Pacific to stir up trouble” and “flex its muscle” in the South China Sea.

In a strongly worded statement, the Chinese Embassy in Manila also warned the Philippines against being used by America in pushing its “selfish geopolitical interests.”

The US Embassy in Manila refused to be goaded into a word war with its Chinese counterpart which railed at the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Washington and Manila.

“No response further than the language I shared earlier,” US Embassy spokesperson Kanishka Gangopadhyay told reporters Sunday via text message.

Gangopadhyay was referring to their earlier statement that the US and the Philippines enjoy an alliance and partnership based on “deep historical, economic, and cultural ties, and our shared democratic values.”

“The United States and the Philippines stand together as friends, partners, and allies. Now and always, the US commitment to the defense of the Philippines is ironclad, and we are committed to strengthening our economic and investment relationship,” the US Embassy said.

Fanning flames

EDCA allows US military forces to be stationed in more bases within Philippine territory purportedly for climate change and humanitarian initiatives.

But for China, EDCA and the presence of American forces in the Philippines were meant to project US military power in the South China Sea.

“We should keep [on] the right track of maintaining good-neighborliness and attaining mutual benefit rather than getting distracted by forces who are fanning the flame and driving a wedge between us, even less inviting a bully into our community,” it said.

China also denied US claims that there is a need to secure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, nearly the whole of which is being claimed by Beijing as its territory.

The SCS serves as an important trade channel with $5.3 trillion worth of trade passing through it each year.

“There is no problem of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea,” the Embassy said. “When talking about free and open waterways, what the US has in its mind is actually the freedom of rampage of its warships in the South China Sea,” it added.

The Chinese Embassy said the Philippines should focus on post-Covid recovery and maintain good relations with Beijing.

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