Title: U.S. Navy Commander Criticizes China’s Aggressive Behavior in South China Sea
In a recent address, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, has expressed his concerns over China’s “aggressive behavior” in the South China Sea. Speaking out against the maritime superpower’s actions, he emphasized the need to challenge and push back against those engaging in aggressive behavior and operating in what he referred to as the “grey zone.”
During a meeting with Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos of the Philippine Western Command, Vice Admiral Thomas reassured the Philippines of the United States’ unwavering support in the face of shared challenges in the region. With the Seventh Fleet acting as the largest of the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed fleets, comprising 70 ships, 150 aircraft, and 27,000 sailors, this support carries considerable weight.
Highlighting a specific incident that occurred on August 5th, Vice Admiral Thomas mentioned an altercation involving a Chinese coast guard ship and a Philippine boat supplying troops aboard a warship grounded on a shoal in the South China Sea. The Chinese coast guard ship reportedly used a water cannon against the Philippine vessel, further exemplifying the worrisome behavior exhibited by China.
Despite reaching out for comments, the Chinese Embassy in Manila has yet to respond to requests regarding the incident.
Vice Admiral Thomas’s discussions with Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos were aimed at better understanding the challenges faced by the Philippines and finding opportunities for assistance. Notably, the Philippines secured an international arbitration award against China in 2016. The tribunal ruled that China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea had no legal basis, further highlighting the complex dynamics at play in the region.
As tensions surrounding the South China Sea continue to escalate, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas’s condemnation of China’s aggressive behavior further underscores the need for international scrutiny and intervention. The United States’ backing of the Philippines serves as a powerful signal to China, signaling that such activities will not go unchallenged.
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