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CPP opposes US Coast Guard's deployment of Stratton in South China Sea

The United States Coast Guard's deployment of maritime security cutter Stratton in the Pacific region—for "protection"—should not be welcomed by Filipinos, according to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Thursday.

"The deployment of more and more aircraft carriers, warships and cutters in the South China Sea and Philippine seas is part of US imperialism's geopolitical strategy of gaining firm control of the trade routes, in line with its aim of gaining an advantage over China," it said in a statement.

"The 'protection' plan of the US government is direct military intervention in the internal affairs of the country," it added.

On Tuesday, the US Coast Guard said that it will continue to help Indo-Pacific countries which are having difficulties protecting their exclusive economic zones such as the Philippines.

"We are very much interested in engaging with partner nations and using our authorities and capacity-building in a way that is helpful and beneficial to particularly some of the small island nations who struggle with their own EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] enforcement," Vice Admiral Linda Fagan, commander of the US Coast Guard in the Pacific, said in a telephonic briefing.

"We’ll do things like send a small training team into a nation and help teach them how to do a fisheries enforcement boarding to guard against fishing incursions," she added.

These efforts, consistent with international law, were anchored on the goal of strengthening US partners' capabilities in protecting their "own sovereignty," according to Fagan.

Its maritime security cutter Stratton is set to replace Bertholf which was deployed in the Western Pacific region in January.

This, however, was not a welcome idea for the communist organization.

"The US acts like a colonial overlord by promoting the policy that the country needs US 'protection' to defend its sovereignty," it said.

The CPP further claimed that the US is capitalizing on the recent collision of a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino boat in the waters off Recto Bank, which sparked rage among many Filipinos, to deploy its assets in the Philippine seas.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday said he already filed a diplomatic protest over the incident.

Moreover, the buildup of US military presence in the region "raises the temperature of military tensions with China and increasing the risk of an outbreak of a war," according to the CPP.

It urged the Filipinos to "denounce Chinese intrusions into Philippine territorial waters, but at the same time, reject the hypocritical plan of the US to deploy its military forces as 'protection.'" — Dona Magsino/MDM, GMA News