Naval assets from Australia, Japan, and the U.S. will meet in the South China Sea this week, gathering off the western Philippines to highlight their commitment to the rule of international law in the region after a recent show of Chinese aggression in the disputed waters, Filipino security officials said Sunday.
Chinese coast guard ships recently used water cannon against Philippine vessels in the contested waterway where disputes have long been regarded as a potential flashpoint and have become a fault line in the rivalry between the U.S. and China in the region.
HIGH-STAKES WATER GUN FIGHT! China Warship Fires Water Cannon at Philippine Coast Guard VesselChina Coast Guard via Storyful
The Philippines would not be part of this week’s drills due to military logistical limitations but is open to becoming a participant in the future, the official said.
The move comes at the same time the Biden administration is building naval forces in the Middle East across the disputed Strait of Hormuz in a bid to counter aggression from Iran.
As Breitbart News reported, U.S. warships have moved to the area while the Pentagon considers offering armed sailors and U.S. Marines to commercial ships transiting the key strait in an attempt to foil any plans by Tehran to stop, board, and seize ships in international waters as they pass through the key seaway.