In response to China’s illegal and aggressive activities targeting Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), top military leaders from the Philippines and the United States have pledged to enhance collaboration.
This commitment was solidified during a recent phone conference between Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Gen. Charles Brown Jr., Chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a phone conference held on Monday, December 11, Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and Gen. Charles Brown Jr. discussed the escalating security situation in the West Philippine Sea. The leaders emphasized the need for close coordination in response to China Coast Guard’s (CCG) increasing illegal activities, particularly targeting rotation and re-provisioning missions of Philippine government vessels in the WPS.
Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, AFP public affairs office chief, stated on Tuesday, “The two agreed to maintain close coordination amidst worsening illegal activities of the China Coast Guard (CCG) targeting rotation and re-provisioning missions and patrols of Philippine government vessels in the WPS. They also discussed mutual strategic security interests and opportunities for increased military cooperation.”
The phone call followed aggressive incidents over the weekend, where China Coast Guard and maritime militia ships engaged in confrontations, including firing water cannons at Philippine vessels in Bajo De Masinloc and Ayungin Shoal.
At least three Philippine vessels were reported damaged during these incidents.
Both military officials reaffirmed their commitment to the enduring alliance between the Philippines and the United States under the framework of the Mutual Defense Treaty.
They stressed the importance of upholding a rules-based international order and shared the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific Region, despite the challenges posed by China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea.