US calls for end to Chinese provocation in Ayungin


WASHINGTON – The United States has called on China to allow the Philippines to continue to maintain its presence on Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and said Chinese efforts to prevent Filipinos from resupplying the outpost were “provocative and destabilizing.”

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, in a press briefing on Monday, said the Chinese coast guard harassed Philippine vessels and attempted to block these vessels from conducting a routine re-supply and rotation of personnel on Ayungin Shoal on Saturday.

Aside from being provocative and destabilizing, Chinese actions were inconsistent with freedom of navigation, she said.

It was the second day in a row that the United States has come out in support of the Philippines in its dispute with China over islands, reefs and shoals in the West Philippine Sea. The areas being coveted by China are well within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.


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