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Chair Cardin Statement on Dangerous PRC Actions Near Second Thomas Shoal

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent actions near Second Thomas Shoal.

“The dangerous actions taken on March 5 against Philippine vessels near Second Thomas Shoal – including the PRC Coast Guard’s harassment, blocking, and ramming of Philippine vessels within Philippine territorial waters – demonstrates another alarming example of President Xi’s blatant disregard for stability and international law. These provocations resulted in the injuries of Filipino crew members and represent an ongoing threat to the Philippine’s sovereignty.

“A 2016 arbitral tribunal decision under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea denied the PRC’s maritime claims to the waters around Second Thomas Shoal. Beijing’s ongoing and aggressive actions are inconsistent with this decision and undermine peace and stability in the region.

“I stand with our close ally, the Philippines, as it asserts its legitimate ability to control and conduct routine activities within its exclusive economic zone. The PRC must immediately cease any unlawful actions in the region. The United States remains committed to advancing a free, open, and peaceful Indo-Pacific, and will resolutely support regional allies and partners that advocate for their sovereignty and adherence to international law.”