The Philippines on Monday accused the Chinese coast of harassing its coast guard in the South China Sea, with Manila calling it a “radical violation” of sovereignty, and the Foreign Secretary, using defamation, demanded that Beijing from the country’s special economic zone Take the ships back.
Between January 1 and March 18, Philippine maritime patrols spotted “hundreds of Chinese ships” in parts of the South China Sea that claimed to be the Manila region, including Pag-Asa, Subi, and Loita Islands, Lanka KK, the second Thomas Scholl, Jackson include the State Department’s Atoll and Scarborough Shawl said in a statement.
The DFA stated that “on 24, 25 April 2021, protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard ships of the Philippine Coast Guard conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training in the vicinity of Bajo de Maisonette.”
Bajo de Masinloc is Manila’s name for the Scarborough Shoal, located 118 nautical miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon within the Spatly Islands and the nation’s 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The DFA said it was opposed by the “frequent, illegal, prolonged and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and marine militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones.”
Manila also rejected an earlier statement by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin about Beijing’s claims for the maritime zone.
“China obtains sovereignty over Nansha islands including Zhongye [Pag-asa] Huangyan Island including the island and Zhongsha Island [Scarborough Shoal] And exercise jurisdiction over their adjacent waters and relevant waters. Wang said on 26 April that we urge the party concerned to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests and to prevent actions that complicate the situation and resolve disputes.
On Monday, the DFA stated that the Philippines had “sovereignty and jurisdiction” over a portion of Scarborough Shoal and Spratils, noting that the Coast Guard’s maritime patrols and exercises were a “legitimate and routine function” in its territory and territorial waters Were. “
“China has no law enforcement authority in these areas. The presence of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels of the Pag-Asa Islands of the Philippines and the Bajo de Massinloc and Special Economic Zones is a matter of grave concern. The unauthorized and dull appearance of these vessels is a blatant violation of Philippine sovereignty. “
The DFA’s statement was the latest in a growing list of formal protests over the presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.
Manila has lodged daily protests with Beijing since March when it called for the presence of about 200 ships suspected by Beijing’s maritime military in the Whitsun Reef within the Philippines EEZ.
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to Benarnews request for comment on Monday.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Loxin Jr., meanwhile, got caught up in China’s action in a profanity-ridden statement on his personal Twitter account.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see … o … go [expletive] outside. What are you doing for our friendship? “Loksin tweeted on Monday.
Later, Manila’s top diplomat referred to President Rodrigo Duterte’s September 2020 speech before the United Nations, where he called for a 2016 arbitral award, which validated China’s broad claim to the Philippines for the EEZ in the South China Sea. Declared the claim of.
Since assuming power in 2016, Duterte has promoted friendship relations between the Philippines and China and avoided discussing governance.
In a television speech last week, Duterte said China was “a good friend” and did not want any “trouble” or war. “But, he also said, he would not order patrolling in the South China Sea despite Beijing’s demands.
‘Defend us what is right’
Responding to claims of disagreement between the president and his defense and foreign secretaries, defense chief Delphin Lorenzana said his utterances “echoed the stand” of Duterte, adding that Manila’s patrolling in the South China Sea would continue.
Lorenzana said, “For us President Duterte’s orders have been very firm and straight: protect what we have right without going to war and maintaining peace at sea.”
“While we accept that China’s military capability is more advanced than ours, it does not protect us our national interest, and our dignity as an individual, which we have,” Lorenzana said.
Manila is boasting of its non-military presence in the waters that it claims in the South China Sea through its Coast Guard, Fisheries Bureau and Marine Police. Last week, these agencies carried out operations in the South China Sea, including Scarborough Shoel.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Coast Guard unit China Coast Guard has maintained a consistent presence at the Scarborough Shoal since 2012 following a standoff with the Philippine Navy.
In those times, Chinese Coast Guard ships prevented Filipino fishermen from leaving the anchorage inside the lagoon which provides safe harbor during inclement weather. Filipino fishermen fishing at Scarborough Shoal have reported a nearly 80 percent drop in their catch since the Chinese takeover.
In addition, recent legislation by China authorizing its Coast Guard to fire at alleged intruders in the South China Sea has caused concern among Filipinos, especially fishermen.
On Friday, Filipino fishermen advocacy group Pamalkaya petitioned the United Nations to repeal the law, investigate China’s actions in the South China Sea, and “devour” strategic and resource-rich waters.
Apart from China and the Philippines, other contenders for parts of the South China Sea are Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Although Indonesia does not consider itself a party to the dispute, China claims that there is overlap with Indonesia’s EEZ in the South China Sea.
Reported by Benarnews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.