News Release

US sees no reason for China to ‘overreact’ on PH, Japan, US, AU maritime patrol in SCS

The US government finds no reason for China to overreact on what it called as the “quadrateral cooperation” in the South China Sea between the Philippines, the US, Australia and Japan.

“I can’t speak for the PRC (People’s Republic of China) reaction, one way or another, except to say there is no reason to overreact to this,” White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told the Philippine media delegation in Washington on Wednesday.

Kirby’s remarks came after he was asked about the importance of the maritime patrol conducted by the Philippines, the US, Japan and Australia in the WPS, which may trigger a strong reaction from China.

China has reportedly staged its own maritime drill as well.

“This is about freedom of navigation; it’s about adherence to international law; it’s about proving the simple point that we and our allies will fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits us to do and it does in the South China Sea, and we did,” Kirby said.

He added that more similar maritime patrols will be conducted by the US in Philippine waters.

“And, I think you can look forward to additional opportunities for us to conduct those kinds of maritime patrol. But they are really about reconfirming a simple principle about international maritime law in international waters,” Kirby said.

Kirby said the US government has been watching over the tensions in the WPS “with great concern” as he urged China to abide by the 2016 Hague-based decision, which upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea.

“As I said, we are, we’ve been watching those tensions with great concern,” Kirby said.

“We again urge the PRC to abide by the 2016 ruling, and to recognize as we do that the second time a show of force within the Philippine economic exclusion area and we will continue to make that point when the President spoke to President Xi, he very clearly made our concerns known about Chinese activities in the South China Sea,” he added.

Kirby added the telephone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden will not affect the bilateral meeting of President Marcos with the American leader and the trilateral meeting with Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

He said the meeting aims to discuss a wide range of areas where the three countries can deepen its partnerships not just in terms of security framework, but also in many aspects including trade, people to people exchanges and climate change, among others. PND