Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and the United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo discussed the latest US policy declaration on maritime disputes in the South China Sea, after the US called China’s claims as “unlawful” last month.
The US State Department said in a statement on Friday that the two diplomats discussed the US’ position and other issues regarding it during a call.
“Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Locsin discussed the recent change in US policy on maritime claims in the South China Sea, US support for Southeast Asian coastal states upholding their sovereign rights and interests consistent with international law, and opportunities for further US-Philippine maritime cooperation,” the statement said.
Last month, Mr. Pompeo said in the “US Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea” that China “has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will” in the Southeast Asian region. He added that China has no legal basis for its “Nine-Dashed Line” claim in the South China Sea.
Mr. Pompeo also said the US stands with other Southeast Asian countries against China in protecting the countries’ sovereign rights over the disputed waters.
Mr. Locsin and Mr. Pompeo also discussed “the strong economic, security, and people-to-people ties that bind our two countries” during the call, said the US State Department statement.
In a Tweet, Mr. Pomeo said he had a “Good call today with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs @teddyboylocsin to discuss our shared interests in the South China Sea. The US-Philippine Alliance is vital to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” — Gillian M. Cortez