Blinken says he supports Southeast Asian countries in their dispute with China in the South China Sea

US secretary of state stressed importance of mutual defence treaty

The US rejects China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea that go beyond the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The State Department said this in a statement released on Wednesday following a telephone conversation between Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Philippine counterpart Teodoro Locsin.

“The US Secretary of State stressed the importance of the Mutual Defence Treaty and its application to attacks on Philippine armed forces, ships or aircraft in the Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea,” the text said. – Anthony Blinken also noted that the US rejects China’s claims to maritime territories in the South China Sea that go beyond the maritime zones that China is allowed to claim under international law, as reflected in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The secretary of state assured the support of Southeast Asian countries in the face of Chinese pressure.”

Tensions in the South China Sea have persisted for years over claims by several countries in the region to the Spratly Archipelago and the neighbouring Paracel Islands. In addition to their strategic location at the crossroads of maritime routes in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the value of the islands is also determined by the fact that their shelves, according to experts, contain significant reserves of oil and minerals. While China and Vietnam are the main protagonists in the dispute over ownership, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines have also made partial or complete claims to the islands and their surrounding waters.

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