The Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian. (Photo/mod.gov.cn)
China's Defense Ministry on Tuesday urged the Philippines to abide by its commitments regarding Ren'ai Reef in the South China Sea and immediately cease all provocative actions.
The ministry's spokesman, Wu Qian, made the remarks in response to the Philippine Armed Forces and the U.S. Defense Department spokesperson condemning China for intercepting Philippine vessels which transported personnel and supplies to Ren'ai Reef.
Wu said that China has sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, including Ren'ai Reef, based on sufficient historical and legal grounds. He noted that in recent times, the Philippines has violated its commitments and attempted to transport construction materials used for repair and reinforcement to its illegally "stranded" warship.
This act violated China's sovereignty and goes against the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, Wu said.
He stressed that the Chinese Coast Guard lawfully intercepted and enforced warnings, using water cannons as a precaution to avoid direct collisions after multiple failed verbal warnings. He said that the actions were reasonable, lawful, professional, and compliant with norms.
Wu said China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly uphold its national sovereignty, urging the Philippines to abide by its commitments of removing the "stranded" warship and immediately cease all provocative actions.
He said China firmly opposes the U.S. which disregarded the facts and baselessly accused China of exercising legitimate and legal maritime enforcement actions for rights protection.
"The U.S. is not a party directly involved in the South China Sea issue and has no right to meddle in it," Wu said.
He demanded the U.S. immediately stop creating trouble and sowing discord regarding the issue, respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the region, and respect the positive efforts made by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Wu said the Chinese military will resolutely fulfill its duties and missions to firmly uphold national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.