US Secretary of the Navy Carlos del Toro made it loud and clear to Chinese Communist aggressors planning to violate the sovereignty of other countries in the region that they will face “punitive counteractions,” similar to what Russia is currently facing.

US ‘veiled warning’ against China

In an interview this week, Del Toro stated that US troops stationed in the Asia-Pacific region will remain on high alert, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, and will be looking for any aggressions.

The USS Ronald Reagan and her carrier strike group arrived in the South China Sea just days ago to conduct operations.

Carlos del Toro said in an interview Tuesday night in Manila that the US military assigned in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, would never slacken and has intensified despite the war in Ukraine.

During his visit to Manila, the US official also renewed assurance on behalf of President Biden that they would honor its obligations under a 1951 Mutual Defense in case Philippine forces, ships, and aircraft are attacked the disputed waters or territory.

Del Toro did not mention China specifically, but the Philippines and Beijing have had alarming territorial tensions in the last decade. Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei are also embroiled in disputes with China over strategic waters, shoals, reefs and island in the south China Sea which Beijing is trying to assert complete control over.

“As President Biden has said, if one country violates one inch of Filipino sovereignty, whether it be at sea or onshore or an offshore island, we will be there to support the Filipino nation and the Filipino people in every possible way,” Del Toro said.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials reiterated their warning to the US to “stay away” from what is a purely Asian dispute. To prove the seriousness of the threat, China repeatedly confronts US ship and aircraft engaged in Innocent Passage in international waters that China claims control over.