"The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea. We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty," Blinken said on Sunday.
The Secretary of State accused China of "coercing and intimidating" Southeast Asian coastal states and claimed that there was a major threat to maritime order in the South China Sea.
"We call on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to abide by its obligations under international law, cease its provocative behavior, and take steps to reassure the international community that it is committed to the rules-based maritime order that respects the rights of all countries, big and small," Blinken said.
At the start of July, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on the US and Japan to stop promoting the so-called Chinese threat theory and instead work toward peace and stability in the region.
The South China Sea and the East China Sea, situated in the Asian-Pacific region, are sources of tension for China and its neighbors, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, as these nations continue to argue over the waters' maritime borders. China considers the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as its territory, despite an international tribunal ruling that these claims have no legal basis.