Solon asks US to conduct regular navigation patrols in West Philippine Sea

House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday asked the United States to frequent its freedom of navigation patrols in the West Philippine Sea amid the continued presence of Chinese militia vessel in Julian Felipe Reef.

According to earlier reports, a US Navy strike group went to the South Sea to conduct routine operations following China’s resistance to remove their vessels in Julian Felipe Reef, which is part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone.

“They should criss-cross that area more often to challenge China’s claim over most of the South China Sea, including international waters and a large part of the Philippine EEZ,” Rodriguez said in a press statement.

“They should support their statements of support for the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea dispute with actual actions on the ground,” he added.

The solon added that frequent freedom of navigation patrols in the disputed region could prevent further Chinese entry into the Philippine territory. It could also deter threats to other US allies in the region.

“That would also show the readiness of the United States to come to the aid of the Philippines in case of conflict as provided under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries,” Rodriguez said.

Solon asks US to conduct regular navigation patrols in West Philippine Sea

He is also urging the US to make more specific statements regarding disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

“Professions of support for Manila in very general language no longer suffice and are just being ignored by the party to which they are directed. There has to be a more direct statement or a warning that the other party will understand,” Rodriguez said.

According to China, Julian Felipe Reef is part of their historical claim according to their nine-dash line map, even though the area is part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Julian Felipe Reef, called Niu’e Jiao by the Chinese is located 175 nautical miles from Bataraza, Palawan.

“China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the waters and we hope that authorities concerned would make constructive efforts and avoid any unprofessional remarks which may further fan irrational emotions,” stated in the statement of the Chinese embassy.