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China to Philippines: Stop 'Complicating' Situation in Disputed Waters

Respect Chinese 'sovereignty,' says foreign ministry.
by Joel Guinto
Apr 28, 2021
Photo/s: Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse
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China said the Philippines should stop "complicating" the situation in disputed waters as it insisted sovereignty over islands that are within Manila's exclusive economic zone.

The spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin, issued the statement in response to a question about Philippine Coast Guard drills in the West Philippine Sea, where China has maintained fishing and militia vessels on top of artificial islands on reefs within the Philippines EEZ.

China "enjoys sovereignty over Nansha Islands including Zhongye Island and Zhongsha Islands including Huangyan Island and their adjacent waters, and exercises jurisdiction in relevant waters."

He was referring to China's name for the Kalayaan Group of Islands or Spratlys. Beijing has insisted on its claim despite losing to Manila before the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration. China's historical claim based on its so-called nine-dash line map is invalid, the court said.

"We urge the relevant side to respect China's sovereignty and rights and interests, and stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes," Wang told reporters.

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WHAT WENT BEFORE:

PH Sends More Patrols to Guard Fishermen From Chinese Ships

Philippine Businessmen to China: Don't Act Like a Colonizer

In 'Utmost Displeasure', Manila Summons Chinese Ambassador

Standoff at Sea: Philippines Says Get Out, China Says Reef is Ours 

Tensions between Manila and Beijing flared up in early April after the Filipino military spotted dozens of Chinese militia and fishing vessels off Julian Felipe (Whitsun) reef.

China has refused to pull out its ships despite daily diplomatic protests and summons on its ambassador to Manila.

China is claiming almost the entire South China Sea, overlapping with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia. Some $3.4 million worth of trade passes through the disputed waters annually and Washington has expressed concern over Beijing's actions in the region.

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The Chinese government also refuses to recognize a UN court's ruling that favored the Philippines and invalidated its vast claims.

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While the Philippines has filed numerous diplomatic protests over China's actions that endangered the lives of Filipino fishermen, Beijing has built artificial islands over the disputed reefs.

BIG PICTURE:

Pag-Asa Island Could Be the Next Amanpulo, Except China Wants It

Why China's New Law Means Danger for Filipino Fishermen

What's In a Name? Sovereignty for Filipino Mayor in Spratlys

Why the Philippines Refuses Conflict with Superpowers in South China Sea

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