Pompeo: US to make sure China can’t blockade South China Sea – Fox News

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    Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., left, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shake hands prior to their bilateral meeting in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Friday, March 1, 2019. Pompeo is in the Philippines for talks on the two countries’ relations as well as the mutual defense treaty. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

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    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures while answering questions during their joint news conference with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines Friday, March 1, 2019. Pompeo is in the country for talks on the two countries’ relations as well as the mutual defense treaty. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is committed to ensuring the South China Sea remains open to all kinds of navigation and that “China does not pose a threat” of closing the busy sea lanes.

Pompeo assured the Philippines during his visit to Manila on Friday that America will come to its defense if its forces, aircraft or ships come under armed attack in the South China Sea. His comments were an attempt to address local concerns over the vagueness of the allies’ 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. says the Philippines feels confident, citing U.S. assurances that, “We have your back.”

Pompeo says he raised the importance of human rights, a touchy subject amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal anti-drug crackdown.

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