Philippines urged to honor commitment

2024-04-12 China Daily Editor:Li Yan

China urged the Philippines on Thursday to honor its commitment, abide by consensus and stop provocations so as to de-escalate tensions in Ren'ai Reef, vowing to firmly safeguard its sovereignty.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning made the remarks after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said he was "horrified" to learn of a gentlemen's agreement between his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, and China to maintain the status quo in the South China Sea.

Harry Roque, former spokesman for Duterte, reportedly said the verbal, nonbinding agreement meant the Philippines would not construct or repair any installations but could deliver "food and water supplies" to Filipino troops stationed at the ship grounded in Ren'ai Reef.

Mao said China has been committed to managing the situation in Ren'ai Reef through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines.

"The reasons for current tensions in Ren'ai Reef are clear and obvious," the spokeswoman told the regular news conference.

Mao slammed Manila for going back on its words by refusing to tow away its illegally grounded warship, and denying the gentlemen's agreement reached between Duterte and China to wantonly stir up trouble at sea.

The Philippines also breached the understanding between Beijing and Manila, and insists on making attempts to send construction materials for large-scale repair and reinforcement of the warship in order to build permanent structures on the reef, Mao said.

China urges the Philippines to immediately tow away the grounded vessel and restore the state of hosting zero personnel and facilities in Ren'ai Reef, Mao said.

The Philippine actions infringed upon China's sovereignty and violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, Mao said.

Before its removal, China will allow the Philippines to resupply the warship to guarantee basic necessities for people in the vessel after being informed in advance and under China's monitor, she said.

However, Mao stressed Beijing will never accept Manila to send construction materials to the vessel to reinforce facilities and build permanent outposts, and will resolutely block such moves in accordance with laws and regulations.

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