US senator calls on partners to act vs China's 'bullying'

A US Senator is supporting Washington's continued alliance with like-minded nations, including the Philippines, to counter China's reported "bullying" and aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

Senator Rick Scott, member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said Manila, Seoul, Tokyo, Canberra, and even the European Union, must "recognize the risk of opportunities for our families if Communist China gets their way."

His pronouncement came as he noted China's "bullying against Philippine fishermen," its dangerous maneuvers against Filipino personnel in the Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal), and its supposed spying.

"They want to lord over as many people as they can and... it's an issue you have," Scott, who was on an official visit to Manila, said before a limited media engagement on Wednesday.

Scott called on nations to "act together" in a bid to "stop [the] bullying by common struggle."
He said he would spend his time in the Senate working with US partners.

In fact, he disclosed, Washington is set to launch the first ever the $9-billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which would be included in its National Defense Authorization Act, to counter China's aggression in the region.

He also supported Washington's ties with the Philippines as much as he supported President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s stand to fight for the country's territorial integrity.

"We've had great working relationships. Our military has always had a great working relationship," he said.

"And I would expect that's going to continue. And I think it's important to our national security," he added.

Scott assured Manila that he would raise the Philippines' voice before the American public by talking "about the importance of continuing to build the relationship for the Philippines."