G7 confronts China on allegations of intimidation

The Group of Seven (G7), comprising seven of the world’s most powerful democracies, has issued a joint communiqué calling on China to stop its militarization of the South China Sea (SCS) and denouncing its use of dangerous maneuvers and water cannons against Philippine vessels.

The communiqué was released after the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Capri, Italy. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with the European Union (EU) as a “non-enumerated” member.

In their statement, the G7 emphasized that China’s vast maritime claims in the SCS have no legal basis.

The group expressed opposition to China’s militarization and coercive activities in the South China Sea, as well as its use of coast guard and maritime militia in the region. They also voiced concerns about the increasing use of dangerous maneuvers and water cannons against Philippine vessels.

The G7 reaffirmed their commitment to upholding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and recognized the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal ruling, which invalidated China’s claims in the South China Sea and upheld the Philippines’ maritime entitlements.

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Emmanuel Bautista called for broader international support for the Philippines in response to China’s aggressive behavior. During a forum organized by Stratbase Institute, Bautista emphasized the importance of international solidarity in addressing China’s actions in the region.

The forum, titled “The West Philippine Sea as Ground Zero of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” brought together government officials, diplomats, scholars, and policy experts to discuss the maritime security landscape in the West Philippine Sea.

Participants at the forum highlighted the need for transparency in addressing the challenges posed by China’s actions in the region. Philippine Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela stressed the importance of exposing China’s provocative behavior to gain international support.

The Philippines is implementing a Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept to enhance external security, while the AFP is strengthening military bases and improving operational capabilities in response to the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

Overall, the international community, led by the G7, is urging China to abide by international law and refrain from destabilizing actions in the South China Sea.

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