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US supports promoting international law compliance in Bien Dong Sea

November 24, 2020 | 14:57

U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Monday assured the Philippines and Vietnam, countries that Washington would fight to keep the Indo-Pacific region free and open.

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U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien. (Photo: AP)

The U.S. has reiterated its support for Vietnam and the Philippines in promoting compliance with international law in the South China Sea.

"I think one issue that was common to both countries is a commitment to support our allies in ASEAN, our friends, and partners in the region, that the U.S. will stand behind them as they promote international law, the rule of law when it comes to the South China Sea," U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a Monday teleconference from Manila. "Our message is we're going to be here, we've got your back, and we're not leaving," said O'Brien.

The adviser said on after meeting with high-ranking officials in Vietnam and the Philippines during his recent visits to both countries, according to VN Express.

In their Saturday meeting, O'Brien and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh agreed that the relationship between Vietnam and the U.S. has scaled new highs. Minh praised the security and defense cooperation between the two sides, including maintaining bilateral dialogue mechanisms and strengthening cooperation in search and rescue operations and in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

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The U.S. has reiterated its support for Vietnam and the Philippines in promoting compliance with international law in the South China Sea. (Photo: VN Express)

O’Brien also met with Vietnam’s Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich and Minister of Public Security To Lam. He stressed that the U.S. highly values the comprehensive partnership between both countries and affirmed continued support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that will play an increasingly important role in the region.

The U.S. security advisor participated in the virtual ASEAN - U.S. Summit on November 14 and praised Vietnam's role as the chair of ASEAN this year, particularly in coordinating regional efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and related challenges.

As said by South China Morning Post, O’Brien’s visit to Vietnam and the Philippines this weekend marks the push of Trump administration to cement its legacy of countering Chinese ambitions in the disputed Bien Dong Sea.

Reuters reported that O’Brien said the United States stood with the Philippines in protecting its offshore resource entitlements. “Those resources belong to the children and grandchildren of the people here,” he said. “They don’t belong to some other country that just because they may be bigger than the Philippines,” he said, adding: “That’s just wrong.” Last year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the Philippines it would come to its defense if attacked in the South China Sea.

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