December 11, 2023
BEIJING – China warned the Philippines to stop infringing on China’s territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea on Sunday, following two cases of intrusion by Philippine vessels without the Chinese government’s permission over the weekend, Gan Yu, a spokesman for the China Coast Guard, said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Three vessels of the Philippine bureau of fisheries and aquatic resources entered into waters near Huangyan Island on Saturday, ignoring China’s repeated dissuades and warnings, he said in a statement.
The China Coast Guard took control measures and dispelled them in accordance with the law and regulations, Gan said.
On Sunday, ignoring repeated Chinese warnings, four Philippine vessels — two coast guard vessels, one public service vessel and one supply ship — intruded into waters near Ren’ai Reef in the Nansha Islands, Gan said.
The China Coast Guard took control measures against the Philippine vessels in accordance with the law, he said.
An earlier statement from the China Coast Guard said that at 6:39 am on Sunday, despite multiple stern warnings from the Chinese side, the Philippine vessel Unaizah Mae 1 ignored international maritime collision regulations, abruptly turned in an unprofessional and dangerous manner, and deliberately collided with China Coast Guard vessel 21556. The Philippine side was entirely responsible for the minor collision, it said.
The Philippines’ behavior had seriously violated China’s territorial sovereignty, Gan said, adding that the actions taken by the Philippine vessel had flagrantly violated international maritime collision regulations and seriously undermined regional peace and stability, which no peace-loving country in the region wished to see.
He added that the China Coast Guard had operated with professionalism, adhering to standard procedures that were in full compliance with the law.
The responsibility for the incidents lay entirely with the Philippine side, Gan said.
The Chinese side has stressed several times that China holds indisputable sovereignty over Ren’ai Reef and its adjacent waters, and has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters, he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin emphasized on Friday that Ren’ai Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands, and said the Philippines had seriously violated China’s sovereignty by illegally grounding a military vessel there and frequently sending construction materials to develop the area around the beached vessel.
“China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea, including the island groups of Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha, and their adjacent waters, and enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters,” he said at a news conference.
He made the remarks after the Philippine House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday to “condemn” China’s actions in the South China Sea.
The Philippines must stop provoking China and violating its rights in the South China Sea, Wang said.
He urged Manila to return to talks as soon as possible to address differences over maritime issues.