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by Balitang America Staff
Posted at 06/29/2011 9:37 PM | Updated as of 06/29/2011 9:37 PM


The Philippines could be dragged into a war in the South China Sea as part of the continuing dispute over the Spratly chain of islands, reports an Australian think-tank.

The report was issued after the United States Senate yesterday passed a resolution deploring China’s military assertiveness against the Philippines and Vietnam in the crowded sea lanes of the South China Sea.

Chinese authorities later responded to the resolution, saying third parties should not be involved in bilateral conflicts that should only be resolved between the parties involved.

China is locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei over ownership of the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week expressed concern over developments in the South China Sea. In a joint press conference with visiting Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario, Clinton said the US opposed the use of force in that regional dispute.

“The United States does not take sides on territorial disputes over land features in the South China Sea, but we oppose the use of force or the threat of force to advance the claim of any party,” Clinton said.

The Philippines and the US are signatories in a Mutual Defense Treaty that mandates each side to come to the aid of the other when confronted with an external attack. Clinton said the US is now reviewing a Philippine request for military equipment that will help secure the Philippines’ sea borders.

“We are determined and committed to supporting the defense of the Philippines and that means trying to find ways of providing affordable material and equipment that will assist the Philippine military to take the steps to defend itself,” Clinton said.

The US and the Philippines will be holding maritime security exercises in the South China Sea this week. With a report from Rodney Jaleco, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

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