The United States has expressed its solidarity with the Philippines amidst the recent aggressive action made by China in the West Philippine Sea.

Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller said Sunday, April 29 (US time), that the US stands with the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) “continued infringement upon freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea.

“Imagery and video recently published in the media is a stark reminder of PRC harassment and intimidation of Philippine vessels as they undertake routine patrols within their exclusive economic zone. We call upon Beijing to desist from its provocative and unsafe conduct. The United States continues to track and monitor these interactions closely,” Miller’s statement said.

Miller said the US is committed to supporting the Philippines in maintaining the international maritime order based on rules, and restates that any armed aggression against Philippine military forces, public vessels, or aircraft, including those of the Coast Guard, in the Pacific, including the South China Sea, would trigger the US’ mutual defense obligations under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

US Department of State’s statement comes after recent media reports showing footage of PRC Coast Guard vessels harassing and intimidating PCG vessels within their exclusive economic zone. The footage has caused concern among regional leaders and has led to calls for increased international pressure on China to cease its aggressive behavior.

The US has consistently expressed its commitment to maintaining stability and security in the region and has been a vocal critic of China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The US has called on all parties to respect international law and has urged China to engage in peaceful dialogue with its neighbors to resolve disputes.