The United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our Philippine ally in the face of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) repeated harassment in the South China Sea.
The PRC’s actions are inconsistent with international law and follow a pattern of dangerous operational behavior in the South China Sea. An international tribunal’s July 2016 decision – legally binding on both the Philippines and PRC – made clear that the PRC has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Second Thomas Shoal. We urge the PRC to respect the high seas freedoms of navigation guaranteed to all States under international law.
The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea.