Beijing slams Washington's statement on Ren'ai Reef

2023-10-24 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Ren'ai Reef. (File photo/China News Service)

Beijing has expressed strong dissatisfaction over and firmly opposed Washington's "sinister attempt" to endorse Philippines' acts of infringement and provocation at Ren'ai Reef while attacking China's legitimate law enforcement actions.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning made the remark on Monday after the United States issued a statement on Sunday saying it stands with the Philippines as the China Coast Guard and maritime militia adopted "dangerous and unlawful actions" to obstruct a Philippine resupply mission in the South China Sea.

The U.S. statement disregards facts and goes against the spirit of international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Mao said at a daily news briefing.

She said the U.S. was citing in vain the so-called South China Sea arbitration award to suggest that China's territorial claims to Ren'ai Reef are "unfounded".

"The so-called South China Sea arbitration award is illegal, null and void. It is pointless for the U.S. to keep trying to make an issue out of this illegal award. ... China will continue to defend its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," she said.

Two civil vessels and two Coast Guard vessels of the Philippines intruded the waters of Ren'ai Reef in China's Nansha Islands on Sunday to deliver supplies to an illegally "grounded" Philippine warship.

China Coast Guard lawfully intercepted the vessels in order to uphold China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. The action taken at the scene was "professional and restrained".

The U.S. statement is aimed at realizing its selfish geopolitical gains, which infringes upon China's sovereignty and rights, and severely undermines regional peace and stability, Mao said on Monday.

"The Ren'ai Reef issue is a bilateral issue between China and the Philippines, and it has nothing to do with the U.S.," she said.

For quite some time, China and the Philippines managed the situation at Ren'ai Reef through communication relatively well and had even reached an understanding, according to Mao.

However, since the beginning of the year, the U.S. has been blatantly emboldening the Philippines' acts of infringing upon China's sovereignty. It has been inciting and supporting the Philippines' attempts to repair and reinforce the warship that was deliberately "grounded" at Ren'ai Reef, the spokeswoman said.

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