Philippines slammed for illegal intrusion

2023-08-08 08:20:49China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Ren'ai Reef. (File photo/

China criticized the Philippines on Monday for failing to honor its commitment to tow away a warship that was "stranded" in China's Ren'ai Reef in 1999, and instead attempting to extensively repair and reinforce the vessel, seeking permanent occupation of the reef.

A spokesperson for the China Coast Guard made the remarks in response to allegations made by the Philippine Coast Guard and armed forces to indicate that Chinese vessels intercepted and fired water cannons at Philippine vessels transporting replacement personnel and supplies to the warship. China's actions violated international law, the Philippine side said.

Rebutting the claims, the spokesperson emphasized that the Ren'ai Reef has always been part of China's Nansha Islands, and in 1999, the Philippine warship ran "illegally "aground. China lodged a solemn representation and the Philippines "repeatedly" promised to tow away the vessel, the spokesperson said in a statement.

"However, after 24 years, the Philippines has not only failed to remove the warship but has also attempted to extensively repair and reinforce it, in order to permanently occupy the reef," the statement said.

It said the Philippines' actions seriously infringe upon China's sovereignty, violate its own commitments, and go against international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China urges the Philippines to remove the warship and restore the original state of the reef, the spokesperson said, underlining that China has made temporary arrangements for the transportation of necessary supplies, including food, to the vessel.

In recent times, on the pretext of personnel rotation and supply transportation, the Philippines has continuously loaded large quantities of construction materials onto the warship. "China has repeatedly expressed its serious concerns to the Philippine side through diplomatic channels and proposed negotiations on managing the situation in the Ren'ai Reef, but the Philippines has refused to respond," the spokesperson said.

After learning recently that the Philippines will send a fresh round of supplies to the warship, China lodged representations at multiple levels and through various channels, demanding that the Philippines not send vessels to the Ren'ai Reef without authorization and not transport building materials to the warship for large-scale maintenance.

On Saturday, disregarding China's dissuasion and repeated warnings, the Philippines sent vessels that illegally entered the waters of the reef, attempting to transport building materials to the warship, which violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, the statement said.

China Coast Guard vessels lawfully intercepted them and conducted warning measures, it said, adding that the Chinese side used water cannons as a warning to avoid collision after multiple verbal warnings proved ineffective.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said that China strongly opposes the US State Department's recent statement, which disregards facts and attacks China's legitimate maritime law enforcement actions.

The United States is blatantly endorsing the Philippines' infringement on China's sovereignty, and its intentions are destined to fail, the spokesperson said.

The South China Sea arbitration case was manipulated behind the scenes by the US and is a politically motivated farce, according to the spokesperson.

"The so-called ruling, which goes against international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is illegal and invalid," the spokesperson said. "We urge the US to stop using the South China Sea issue to sow discord, and we urge it to respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights."

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