US hits 'provocative' China move on Philippine ships

A graphic on the contested claims in the South China SeaThe United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea. The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was “troubled” by Sunday’s incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The Philippines on Tuesday summoned China’s charge d’affaires, accusing Beijing of a “clear and urgent threat” to Manila’s interests.

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