US urges PH, China: Avoid coercion, intimidation in asserting sea claims


MANILA – US admonished the Philippines and China to avoid using “coercion and intimidation” in stating their claims in the disputed South China Sea, its embassy in Manila on Friday.

The US embassy posted a statement, “Our position on the South China Sea is clear: We support lawful uses of the sea, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peace and stability.”

US embassy dispensed the statement after a Chinese ship struck into an anchored Filipino boat near Reed Bank last Sunday, leaving 22 Filipino fishermen at sea.

The fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel in coordination with the Philippine military.

“We saw news reports of the collision at sea. We are thankful none of the Filipino fishermen lost their lives and glad that Vietnamese fishermen rescued them from the open sea,” the US embassy stated.

The fishermen have been returned to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on Friday night.

Junel Insigne, the captain of the Filipino vessel, earlier stated the Chinese saw their vessel sinking and even turned off their lights before leaving them at sea.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila stated the captain of the Chinese ship tried to rescue the fishermen but was “afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats.”

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