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In the South China Sea, the US stands with PH to respect the rules and international law.

MANILA, Philippines – The United States has pledged its “full” support for the Philippines’ sovereignty and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

Visiting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said this promise is part of the US’s Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the Philippines during a recent media roundtable.

“In the face of escalating encroachments in the South China Sea, the Philippines has been a pioneer and a champion for defending the freedom of navigation,” she said.

“The United States remains dedicated to working with the Philippine government to defend the international maritime order’s rules and laws, and we have spoken out against violations of the Philippines’ sovereign rights,” she said.

The announcement came just hours after the Philippine government protested the return of 100 illicit Chinese vessels to the Julian Felipe Reef on Thursday.

Sherman stated that the US-Philippines bilateral maritime discussion serves as a tool for the two countries to discuss issues in the South China Sea and “develop solutions and work together” to ensure that people’s livelihoods are protected.

“Security is unquestionably one of the most pressing concerns in the maritime realm. Another is unregulated, underreported, illegal fishing; another is the environment “she stated

“There are a lot of challenges,” she noted, “and I’m really delighted that this marine debate has started.”

Sherman spoke with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during her trip to Manila on Thursday.

Economic recovery efforts, energy, health, the Ukraine war, and human rights were among the themes discussed during the discussions.

On human rights, the Philippines renewed its appeal to the United States to support the UN Joint Program on Human Rights, which runs for three years (2021-2024). (PNA)

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