Why did latest US statement remove the reference to the illegally grounded warship at Ren’ai Jiao as the Philippines' 'longstanding outpost'?
Published: Jun 18, 2024 11:59 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

On March 5, 2024, after the US State Department issued a statement regarding China's Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef) in the South China Sea, I pointed out that the sudden addition in the previous statements, which recognized the Philippines' illegally "grounded" warship at Ren'ai Jiao as a "longstanding outpost," is a significant symbol showing that the US is supporting the militarization of the South China Sea and undermining the current peaceful situation in the region, as disclosed by an investigative piece by the Global Times.

On June 17, 2024, in the US State Department's latest statement about its so-called support to the Philippines, the US had removed this wording and significantly reduced the length of its statement, reflecting the US' recognition of the major flaws in its previous statement since October 22, 2023.

With a very rational, pragmatic and appropriately neutral attitude, we remind the US that it cannot disregard the truth for its own selfish interests, favor actions that undermine peace in the South China Sea and infringe on China's inherent rights and interests in the region, and incite confrontation, or even take an explicit anti-civilization and anti-humanity stance by supporting the militarization of the South China Sea.

Obviously, the changes in the latest statement indicate that the US acknowledged the serious problems in its previous statements, while denying the rationality of its previous statements.

More importantly, such changes also conveyed a message that the US does not recognize the rationality of any continued stay of the illegally "grounded" warship at the Ren'ai Jiao, including factors the Philippines cited such as time accumulation and geographical proximity. The country also does not recognize any ambitious expansion behavior regarding sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction arising from the illegal "grounding" behavior.

The latest statement, in essence, proved that the US recognized our reminder, acknowledged the completely illegal nature of the "grounded" warship, and supported the Philippines to fulfill its long-denied commitment to towing away the warship, or in other reasonable ways to eliminate the existence of this illegal infringement.

Facts have once again proven that justice will always shine as long as all of us make our voices heard.

The author is deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn