MANILA, Philippines — The United States said Tuesday it’s backing the Philippines in a new standoff with Beijing in the disputed South China Sea, where Manila has asked a Chinese fishing flotilla to leave a reef. China ignored the call, insisting it owns the offshore territory.

The U.S. Embassy said it shared the concerns of the Philippines and accused China of using “maritime militia to intimidate, provoke, and threaten other nations, which undermines peace and security in the region.”

“We stand with the Philippines, our oldest treaty ally in Asia,” the U.S. Embassy in Manila said in a statement.

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