Thursday, March 13, 2014

US criticizes China's blocking Philippine ships

A senior US official has criticized China's blocking of Philippine ships in the South China Sea, calling it a provocative move that raises tensions.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki released on Wednesday a statement criticizing China's blockade.

Reports say Chinese patrol vessels on Sunday forced two Philippine supply ships to turn away from waters near the Spratly Islands. The islands are at the center of territorial disputes between the Philippines and China.

The Philippine ships were reportedly taking supplies to troops guarding an atoll in the South China Sea controlled by the country.

China and ASEAN countries including the Philippines signed a declaration aimed at peacefully resolving territorial issues in the South China Sea in 2002.

The US spokesperson said the Philippines has maintained a presence at the shoal since 1999. She said there should be no interference with efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo.

China is increasing activities in the sea, claiming most of the region.