Ren'ai Reef. (File photo/China News Service)
China urged the Philippine side to stop violating China's sovereignty and stop any deliberate and provocative actions to prevent further escalation of the situation in Ren'ai Reef, a defense spokesman said on Thursday.
The ministry spokesperson Wu Qian made the remarks in response to recent comments by politicians of the Philippines and the United States.
The Philippines' Defense Secretary recently claimed that the Chinese action in waters near Ren'ai Reef were "in blatant violation of international law". Moreover, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that the supply to troops stationed at BRP Sierra Madre — the Philippine warship illegally stranded in Ren'ai Reef for over 20 years — would continue to be transported by boat.
In addition, the US National Security Advisor reiterated US support for the Philippines and emphasized that the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty also applied to the Philippine Coast Guard.
Wu said the China Coast Guard and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have released multiple statements concerning what really happened and published videos as evidence, noting that the cause and facts of the incident are clear, and the evidence is irrefutable.
"China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, including Ren'ai Reef, and its adjacent waters," he said. "China's sovereignty is shaped and confirmed through a historical process, and complies with international laws including the United Nations Charter."
Philippine ships ignored repeated dissuasion and warnings of the Chinese side, and intentionally violated China's sovereignty and made provocations by crossing the bow of a CCG ship in a dangerous manner, the spokesman said, adding that a Philippine coast guard vessel then deliberately reversed and bumped into a parked Chinese fishing boat, endangering the personnel of both sides.
"The responsibility lies fully with the Philippine side. In response to the Philippines' provocations, the CCG responded in accordance with laws to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty," he said, stressing that the CCG's operations were reasonable, legitimate and professional.
"Unfortunately, some non-territorial countries ignored the facts and stirred up discords by misleading international public opinions. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that," said Wu.
He urged the Philippine side to stop violating China's sovereignty and stop any deliberate and provocative actions to prevent further escalation of the situation.
"We urge the US to stop interfering in the South China Sea issue, stop fanning the flame and stirring up trouble to undermine regional peace and stability," the official said.
"The Chinese military will firmly safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and continue to conduct operations in waters under China's jurisdiction."