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US, Japan, Philippines Unified as China Threatens Rolling Takeover of South China Sea

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MANILA - The U.S., Japan, Australia and the Philippines recently held joint military exercises in the South China Sea amid worsening harassment of China against the Philippines in the disputed territory. The goal was to help safeguard the rule of law and uphold the right to sail through and fly over the South China Sea.

While the four countries reaffirmed support of a 2016 international ruling invalidating China's expansion in the region, the communist regime continues to ignore it. 

Since starting with mere fishermen sheds in 2013, China has built seven artificial islands complete with buildings, military installations, and airstrips inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

Over the years, Chinese Coast Guard and militia have taken aggressive action against Filipino Coast Guard ships and fishermen. A recent water cannon incident shattered the windshield of a Philippine re-supply ship, injuring four Navy officers.

At the Philippines' Day of Valor commemoration of war heroes, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned China's violence and urged Filipinos to be brave.

President Marcos said in his speech, "Some portend clear and present threats to our sovereign rights, and in fact have already caused harm to our people. Let us not allow ourselves to be oppressed in our own sovereign land. Let us remain united and patriotic."
Japan's Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya re-affirmed his country's commitment to the region.

"By upholding the international order based on the rule of law, Japan and the Philippines, and other like-minded countries become united partners in building a world founded on peace, harmony, and goodwill," Kazuya said.
During the U.S.-led naval exercises, China responded by sending out air and sea patrols into the South China Sea. Last year, a historic agreement opened up several Philippine bases to the U.S. military for the first time in decades. 
Philippines security analyst Dr. Rommel Banlaoi told CBN News that increased U.S. military presence in the area will inevitably put the Philippines in a difficult situation.

"The Philippine government is involving a lot of major powers to support us in our cause. The problem is if you involve great powers in the West Philippine Sea, you are changing the discourse of the South China Sea from territorial dispute to great power competition. And that's more difficult to manage. So for me, it's raising the risk for armed conflict," Banlaoi said.
This week, President Biden hosted the first-ever trilateral summit with leaders of Japan and the Philippines.  Along with issues like economic cooperation, a high agenda item will likely be Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. 

According to one White House advisor, this historical trilateral summit of Japan, the Philippines, and the U.S. will open a new era of cooperation and commitment that will hopefully lead to a free, peaceful, and more prosperous Indo-Pacific.

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About The Author


Lucille Talusan is the Asia Correspondent for CBN News.