US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III has lambasted China for its “unlawful conduct” in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea), particularly inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In a Zoom meeting with his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recently, Austin – who was appointed earlier this year when President Joe Biden took over the White House – cited as basis China’s continued disregard for the 2016 ruling of the Arbitral Court in The Hague on the West Philippine Sea issue, 90 percent of which they are claiming per their illegal 9-dash line map.
President Duterte earlier said that the arbitral ruling, which favored the Philippines’ territorial claims in the WPS, was a mere piece of paper that belonged in the trash can.
Photo: Dept. of Defense