Top Chinese diplomatic officials have hit back against US national security advisor Robert O’Brien over his “unreasonable remarks” in the Philippines while on an official visit there this week.
The Chinese embassy in Manila on Tuesday slammed what diplomatic officials called his deliberate efforts at “stirring up trouble in the South China Sea” and “provoking a rift between China and the Philippines.”
The Manila embassy further harangued Washington for not promoteing regional peace and stability, instead creating “chaos in the region” for US self-interest.
“In recent years, to safeguard its regional and global hegemony, the US has regarded itself as ‘patron’ and ‘judge’ of regional countries and directly intervened in the South China Sea and other issues,” the statement said.
His statements were said to have “fanned the flames everywhere” and “seriously” undermined regional security by seeking to create tensions between China and its regional allies.
The statement said further, “The US is the biggest driver of the militarization of the South China Sea and the most dangerous external factor endangering the peace and stability of the South China Sea” – something which has been emphasized by Beijing many times in the recent past.
O’Brien has been on a surprise tour of Vietnam and the Philippine’s this week in a mission seen as attempting to counter the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries’ (and key allies) recent signing of a historic trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), hailed as the biggest free trade deal ever among fifteen Asia Pacific Nations and widely reported as a huge win for China.
“We got the Philippines’ back when it comes to the South China Sea,” says US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien as he visits the Philippines. https://t.co/mxhoWZnRWu
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) November 23, 2020
O’Brien weighed in heavily on soaring tensions in the South China Sea and US efforts to maintain ‘freedom of navigation’ by its beefed up naval presence there:
During his speech at the building of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday, O’Brien reiterated Washington’s support for Manila’s fight for control over the West Philippine Sea.
“I just want to say that those resources belong to the children and grandchildren of the people here. They belong to the [Filipino] people,” O’Brien said.
“They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines, they can come take away and convert the resources of the Philippine people. That’s just wrong,” he added.
The Chinese embassy called the whole speech “full of Cold War mentality” and which was intended to “wantonly incite confrontation.”
O’Brien had vowed that “Any armed attack on Philippine forces aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger our mutual defense obligations.”
He also provocatively confirmed that $18 million in missiles the Trump administration pledged to the Philippines last April would soon be delivered on, and that the deal is currently progressing.