china Dave DeCamp Foreign Policy

Kamala Harris Hits Out at China in Speech on Philippine Coast Guard Ship

Harris delivered the speech in Palawan, a Philippine island province with a coast on the South China Sea.
Kamala Harris met with President Marcos of the Philippines at the Malacañang Palace, 2022. Office of the Vice President of the United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday wrapped up her trip to the Philippines with a visit to Palawan, an island province with a coast on the disputed South China Sea.

From there, Harris delivered a speech onboard a Philippine Coast Guard vessel and said the US would lead a campaign against “irresponsible behavior” in the region, referencing Beijing.


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China, the Philippines, and several other Southeast Asian countries all have overlapping claims to the South China Sea. The US has inserted itself into the dispute and rejects most of Beijing’s claims.

Harris is now the highest-level US official to visit Palawan, demonstrating the emphasis the Biden administration is putting on confronting China in the South China Sea.

“We must stand up for principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and throughout the Indo-Pacific,” Harris told Philippine coast guard officers.

A day earlier, Harris met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and vowed to defend the Philippines in the South China Sea. She reaffirmed that an attack on Philippine vessels in the waters would invoke mutual defense commitments under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines.

When asked about Harris’ visit, China’s Foreign Ministry said it wasn’t against US contacts with other countries. “We are not against normal interaction between the US and the Philippines, but their interaction should not be damaging to other countries’ interests,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

In her speech on Tuesday, Harris announced a new cooperation with the Philippines to cut down on illegal fishing. A major part of the dispute between China and other Southeast Asian claimants to the South China Sea is over who can fish where.

Harris said the US was providing new funding the Philippine law enforcement to help them combat illegal fishing. She said it was part of an initiative launched in May to “provide more training, assets, and personnel to build maritime law enforcement capabilities across Southeast Asia.”


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Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

10 comments

  1. “We must stand up for principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and throughout the Indo-Pacific.”
    Are sending US warships along China’s coast “freedom of navigation”? Would the US allow China to send warships along its coast?

  2. Of course she does…

    “The war waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very [hierarchical] structure of society intact”. Orwell, ‘1984’.

    ‘The traditional political left is gone. It was usurped as Orwell predicted, via the seamless manipulation and meaning of language, and replaced by US Democrat ‘liberals’ and UK Labour ‘centrists’ who *behaviourally* are as far-right as the Trumpian Republicans and Johnson’s Tories… As such, *complimenting* the conventional far-right half of The Party, the liberal-centrist half’s role is undertaken by highly-respected, household name ‘centre-left’ commentators, in whom, many of their loyal followers have in their common cause made a reality-warping emotional investment to hand over their absolute, unequivocal trust to nothing more than an actor playing a part. Regardless of pretext, militarisation of the US, UK and beyond is inevitable’.

    ‘Indicating Charrington: 13 Red Flags Signposting The Party’s US ‘Liberal’ & UK ‘Centrist’ Plants’ (2022) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-3gT

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (free download)

  3. What a surprise another warmongering Democrat this time picking on China instead of Russia despite China only competing on world markets.Of course this threatens the hell out of US Capitalists and Imperialists.So they pulled the strings of Harris. She is not dumb she got the message as do they all.It does not matter that a war with China and Russia will or could end humanity. It is clear what is more important PROFITS.

  4. The chant of the Democrats continues unchanged since 2016 …. “We Want Nuclear War, and We Want It Now!”

    Since this is just an article from a pro-war stenographer repeating the pro-war VP’s pro-war statements, I’m not sure why this is tagged “antiwar”? Is there a anti-war word or thought anywhere in this piece? I’ve now read it several times, and can’t find such a word? A browser search of the page fails to find the word “Peace” anywhere in the text.

    And, as the clincher, the pro-war White House and the pro-war Democratic Party have not come out and ‘clarified’ what the pro-war VP really meant when she mis-spoke and accidentally gave the impression that she was not cheering each click of the Doomsday Clock advancing. Which would of course happen should her word salad ever be misinterpreted as opposing Global Nuclear War.

  5. Doesn’t she work as a fry cook at Red Lobster? That’s where they mold bread crumbs and grease into the shape of a carrier taskforce, then nuke it up. I ordered the USS Ronald Reagan combo last night, and it’s still running down my leg. Doug Emhoff loves the hush puppies.

  6. Kinda weak sauce here. Go to WSWS and read their analysis of Harris’ outrageously hypocritical remarks. Harris is quoted at length there.

    1. WSWS emphasizes that “fishing rights” are low on the agenda, that restoring USA military bases with free rent in the Philippines to surround China is the goal. WSWS reminds us of the shameful history of colonialist violence suffered by the Philippine Republic under American hegemony for 125 years. Symptomatic of the relation is that US military personnel stationed there have qualified immunity from local laws. Tim N.- Isn’t it a sad situation where a frail socialist outlet is the unique and restricted source for a full summary of the facts? Rules based order means most outlets are too intimidated and jingoistic to discuss foreign policy in full.

  7. Eduardo Galeano: “My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. It’s not a person. It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten.”

    The US, now and always, makes allies of the most corrupt, violent collaborators. Recently, US trained military yahoos have committed 8 coups in West Africa. Of course, military coups are cheaper than honestly negotiating Oil & Gas rights with responsible, democratically elected, popularly supported leadership. ‘Los Zetas’, Mexico’s worst narco gang were trained and armed by US ‘special forces’. Honduras, where democracy was recently restored after a US-OAS coup installed a president and family now facing decades in US prisons for drug trafficking. El Salvador, where ex-President Cristiani is facing murder charges for the executions of 6 Catholic priests, housekeeper and young daughter, that advocated for negotiations and peace.

    NAYOYO welcomes military coups and death squads everywhere so long as it favours corporate greed and human rights violations that terrify popular dissent. Only the most savage, racist, drug-dealing monsters are embraced as worthy NAYOYO allies because they have NO LOCAL support. These collaborators know their lives and future depend on following CIA instructions. These are only the most recent iteration of Western Quislings put in power to serve US greed.

    Homer: “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”

    Winston Churchill: ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.”

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