President Donald Trump’s national security advisor Robert O’Brien has reiterated the US’ commitment to back the Philippines and Vietnam over Beijing’s territorial claims in the potentially energy-rich South China Sea.

The two states have been engaged in a long-running row with Beijing over sovereignty in the contested South China Sea, of which China claims 90 percent.

O’Brien said the way to deter China is the “peace-through-strength message” and reinforced Washington’s military commitment to the region.

Our message is we’re going to be here, we’ve got your back, and we’re not leaving. 

The national security advisor reaffirmed that the US stands firmly behind the Philippines in building a deterrent against Chinese expansionism, adding that the sub-sea resources claimed by the Philippines belonged to its people and future generations.

“They don’t belong to some other country just because they may be bigger than the Philippines…that’s just wrong,” he said. (RT)