China is accusing the U.S. of “jeopardizing regional peace and stability” in response to Malacañang’s announcement of the four more Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement (EDCA) sites.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning issued a statement cautioning other claimant nations against their activities, particularly when working with the US, that might escalate tensions in the disputed waters.
“The facts are very clear. The United States, out of its own selfish interest and with a zero-sum mindset, has continued to strengthen its military deployment in the region, the result of which is bound to increase tensions and jeopardize regional peace and security,” she said
“Regional countries should think deeply about what is appropriate and what is mutually beneficial, so as to make choices that are truly conducive to their own interest and to regional peace and stability,” she added.
This is the third time China has criticized the alliance between the two nations, which have been allies since the 1950s.
Beijing accused the U.S. of pitting the Philippines against China in a “geopolitical strife.”
They have also warned the country against “the evil path of drawing wolves into the house”.
On April 3, four new EDCA sites were announced: Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan.
The U.S. had earlier said that the announcement was good news because it was a step toward making it easier for both countries to work together.
“In addition to the five existing sites, these new locations will strengthen the interoperability of the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces and allow us to respond more seamlessly together to address a range of shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural and humanitarian disasters,” the US Department of Defense (USDOD) said in a statement.
The USDOD also vowed to work in “lockstep” with the Philippine Department of National Defense and Armed Forces to rapidly roll out modernization projects at the EDCA sites.
“The Department intends to expand funding on top of the $82 million we have already allocated toward infrastructure investments at the existing EDCA sites. In addition to supporting Alliance commitments, these investments will also spur economic growth and job opportunities in their respective provinces,” it said.
“The United States is committed to ensuring its activities around EDCA sites are responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities, and we will continue to consult closely with the Philippines on new opportunities that serve our shared interests,” the USDOD said further.