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Hanggang salita lang? Locsin doubts US resolve to step in as South China Sea dispute heats up

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr. doubts whether the United States is willing to step in the South China Sea dispute after it cautioned against the use of coercion and intimidation in pressing claims.

In a series of tweets posted Saturday (June 16), Locsin questioned why the US mentioned the Philippines in its statement advising against the use of coercion.

He said freedom of navigation is “nothing” if the US isn’t willing to use its power “to uphold the sovereign rights of the littoral states of Southeast Asia.”

In a statement Friday (June 14), the US embassy said it supports “lawful uses of the sea, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peace and stability.”

“We urge all parties to refrain from using coercion and intimidation to assert their territorial and maritime claims,” the US said.

Locsin noted that the last time US advised the Philippines and China to stand down during a dispute in Panatag Shoal in 2012, the area ended up in Beijing’s hands because the Philippine forces withdrew while their Chinese counterparts stayed.

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