WASHINGTON — A former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said the United States (U.S.) should be willing to use military force to oppose Chinese aggression at a disputed reef off the coast of the Philippines.
Dennis Blair has made the recommendation to a Senate panel Wednesday, a day after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.
Blair said the objective is not to pick a fight with China at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, but to set a limit on its military coercion.
The Philippines is a U.S. ally but their treaty is ambiguous about whether the U.S. would come to its defense in disputed territory.
A 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal between China and the Philippines prompted Manila to launch the arbitration case. (AP)