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US hits 'provocative' China move on Philippine ships

Published on Mar 13, 2014 2:16 AM
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea.

The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was "troubled" by Sunday's incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.

"This is a provocative move that raises tensions. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said.

The Philippines on Tuesday summoned China's charge d'affaires, accusing Beijing of a "clear and urgent threat" to Manila's interests. Beijing countered that the ships "infringed China's territorial sovereignty" and violated a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea.

 
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