China has accused the United States of trying to “create chaos” in the Asia-Pacific, a day after US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, on a visit to the Philippines, backed countries in maritime disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its own interests.
During his trip to Manila, O’Brien told the Philippines and Vietnam, both countries in disputes with Beijing cover the South China Sea: “We’ve got your back”. He also reiterated the US commitment to self-ruled Taiwan.
“We firmly oppose these remarks which are full of Cold War mentality and wantonly incite confrontation,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a statement posted on its website. “It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the US.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea under its so-called nine-dash line and over the past few years has built military installations on several disputed reefs and outcrops despite an international court ruling that found the line – which overlaps with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia – illegal.
The Philippines took its case to The Hague after a two-month standoff with Chinese fishing vessels over Scarborough Shoal in 2014 and the court ruled two years later that, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Philippines had exclusive rights to the resources within 370.4km (200 nautical miles) of its coast.