Kamala Harris says U.S. will defend Philippines in South China Sea

Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday that the U.S. would defend the Philippines in the South China Sea as she visited the island province of Palawan.

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines — Vice President Kamala Harris called on countries Tuesday to stand up for territorial integrity and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has been challenged by China, and said Washington would press an international campaign against “irresponsible behavior” in the disputed waters.

Harris did not cite China by name but was obviously referring to Beijing when she underscored America’s support to treaty ally the Philippines “in the face of intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea.”

She spoke aboard a Philippine coast guard patrol ship docked in Puerto Princesa in the western island province of Palawan, which lies at the edge of the disputed waters. The highly symbolic visit was the last leg of a two-day visit that kicked off in Manila on Monday for talks with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, Philippines, to visit a local village in Palawan on Tuesday.Haiyun Jiang / APCiting the profound stakes for America and the international community in the region, particularly in the busy South China Sea, Harris called for a broad effort to fight for unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed waters.

“We must stand up for principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceful resolution of disputes,” she said.


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