VP Harris to visit front-line Philippine island in sea feud: officials
Santiago is the latest Philippine naval base in the disputed South China Sea to be visited by US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said he wanted to strengthen diplomatic ties with China.
Reuters – White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Tuesday urged China to end “illegal” activities in the disputed South China Sea and warned that the US military would “respond firmly” if the Asian country tried to violate Philippine sovereignty in the disputed waters.
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had canceled a planned visit to the Philippines and expressed frustration with the country’s “disruptive” behaviour in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
President Trump said he had canceled a planned visit to the Philippines and expressed frustration with the country’s “disruptive” behaviour in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
His comments came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the Philippines to promote human rights, after Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano accused the US of supporting an “illegal” presence in the South China Sea.
“China has been very consistent with its territorial claims and we’re going to continue to make clear that we’re very willing to de-escalate the situation,” John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, said when explaining his reasons for being in the Philippines.
Mr Bolton said he had traveled to the country on a first visit to the country since the September 11 terror attacks and would return on November 1 with his wife to attend the funeral of their late son, now 4.
The Trump administration has been pushing hard to get China to change its behaviour in the South China Sea, where Beijing has been building artificial islands and militarising it with an airstrip, while the Philippines and Vietnam have been fighting over territory.
A key factor may have been the planned visit of US Defense Secretary James Mattis. During his visit to the Philippines last month, he had called on China to halt its activities on its islands there and said the US was prepared to