(Eagle News) – United States Ambassador Sung Kim urged all countries with varying claims on the South China Sea to “refrain from provocative unilateral actions” even as he slammed China for its continuous military action in the region.
During the Embassy’s pre-celebration of the 243rd US Independence Day, Ambassador Kim said that this had always been the US government’s position.
“We always say we urge all countries to refrain from provocative unilateral actions that’s inconsistent with international practices we have stated our position very clearly for quite some time now,” Kim said in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s clear that countries should behave according to international practices and laws. In fact China itself has indicated that it would stop militarization but obviously that has not happened,” he added.
-Disturbing missile test, says Pentagon-
Earlier, the US military confirmed that China had test-fired at least one anti-ship missile recently in the area around the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
The Pentagon said this was “disturbing.”
“The Pentagon was aware of the Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands,” said spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn in a CNN report.
“What’s truly disturbing about this act is that it’s in direct contradiction to President Xi’s statement … that he would not militarize those man-made outposts,” Eastburn said.
NBC News which first reported about the missile test said that China released a notice to mariners on Saturday that it would be conducting military exercises until Wednesday, July 3, in a large area of the South China Sea.
-US combat ship’s port visit in Davao City-
China’s missile test happened just as a US combat ship arrived in Davao City.
The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8) arrived in Davao City on June 29 for the ship’s first port visit to the Philippines during her first deployment.
According to Cmdr. Edward A. Rosso, Montgomery’s commanding officer, it is an honor to visit one of the longest-standing U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
“My crew and I are very much looking forward to visiting Davao City,” said Rosso. “Port visits allow us to demonstrate our commitment to maritime security in the region, while strengthening relationships with our friends, partners and allies,” he said.
The USS Montgomery is “fast, agile and mission-focused,” according to a release from the US Embassy.
“Littoral combat ships are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured
for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare,” it said.
The USS Montgomery departed Davao City on July 1.
During the visit, Montgomery hosted local military and civic leaders for an evening reception to celebrate the U.S.-Philippine alliance, said a US embassy release.