The United States on Wednesday, January 10, reiterated its full commitment in defending the Philippines from possible foreign attacks, as it further vowed to continue to promote and protect international rights in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are fully committed to our alliance with the Philippines. There is absolutely no ambiguity about our commitment to defend the Philippines should a foreign force attack the Philippines,” U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim told GMA-7 News to Go.
During the interview, Kim also reaffirmed that Washington remains “fully committed” to the Asia-Pacific region.
He denied that Washington’s shift in policy and attitude toward Asia is “giving space” for China to expand and dominate the region.
“There has been a lot of commentary on this but the U.S. is fully committed to the region. We are not going anywhere. What’s important are trade and security,” the envoy said.
“I don’t think it’s accurate to say we’re retreating and giving space to China,” he added.
Kim also maintained that the the role and position of the U.S. government regarding the South China Sea issue has not changed, which is to promote and protect international rights, such as freedom of navigation and freedom of flight.
“This is not solely for the U.S. but good for everybody. If we don’t have freedom of navigation, we will all suffer. So we are (conducting) freedom of navigation exercises to make sure we promote those rights,” he explained.
While noting that the U.S. is not a claimant in the South China Sea row, Kim stressed that Washington “care very deeply about how the dispute should be resolved.”
The U.S. envoy went on to say, “The dispute should be resolved peacefully and should be done according to international law and practices.”
“So this is why we have efforts to come out with a strong set of principles, code of conduct to govern how we settle this dispute,” he continued.
Right now, Kim said the challenge for the U.S. government is how to “work with a growing expanding China so that the whole region can benefit from a constructive partnership with China.” (Dana Sioson/AJPress)