U.S. says Chinese Coast Guard is harassing Philippine vessels

In the midst of simmering geopolitical tensions, the United States urged China to stop harassing Philippine vessels in the South China Sea, promising to stand behind the Philippines.

On April 29, the United States urged China to stop harassing Philippine ships in the South China Sea, pledging to stand by the Philippines at a time of boiling geopolitical tension.

Following an incident during a Philippine coast guard patrol close to the Philippines-held Second Thomas Shoal, a flashpoint for previous clashes located 105 nautical miles (195 km) off its coast, the Philippines accused China's coast guard of "aggressive tactics" on Friday.

The Second Thomas Shoal is home to a small military garrison onboard a rusted World War II-era US ship that was deliberately grounded in 1999 to bolster the Philippines' territorial claims

China claims sovereignty over practically the entire South China Sea, with a "nine-dash line" on maps extending more than 1,500 kilometres off its mainland and cutting into the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

According to China's Foreign Ministry, the Philippine warships intruded into Chinese seas and conducted deliberate provocative manoeuvres.

According to the State Department, the United States "stands with our Philippine allies in upholding the rules-based international maritime order."