Philippines protests China city claiming disputed sea-A A +A
Thursday, July 5, 2012
MANILA (Updated 5:27 p.m.) -- The Philippine government has protested China's move to place virtually the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) under the jurisdiction of a newly created city.
Department of Foreign Affairs officials summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in Manila on Wednesday and handed her a note protesting China's recent establishment of Sansha city, which would have jurisdiction over all disputed territories in the potentially oil- and gas-rich region.
The developed amid President Benigno Aquino III's latest pronouncement that the Philippines may ask the United States to deploy spy planes over the West Philippine Sea to help monitor the disputed waters.
Hernandez said the "extent of the jurisdiction of Sansha City violates Philippine territorial sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc."
Aside from the violation of the country's territory, the DFA said the China's move clearly violates the established rules in the area.
"The declaration on the establishment of Sansha City contradicts the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," Hernandez said.
"[The city's jurisdiction] infringes on Philippine sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelf of the West Philippine Sea," Hernandez added.
The jurisdiction of Sansha City covers the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Bank and the Bajo de Masinloc, which was the center of a months-long standoff between China and the Philippines.
The standoff ended in mid-June when President Benigno Aquino III ordered the pull out of Philippine vessels from the shoal.
On June 21, China announced the establishment of Sansha City, which is a prefectural-level city that administers the three disputed island groups of Nansha (Spratly Islands), Xisha (Paracel Islands), and Zhongsha (Macclesfield Bank) as well as their surrounding waters.
The three island groups, which are purportedly rich in oil and mineral reserves, are being claimed by five other Asian countries.
"The Philippines reiterates that the Kalayaan Group of Islands and Bajo de Masinloc and the waters and continental shelf around them form an integral part of the Philippine territory and maritime jurisdiction," Hernandez said.
China's Global Times reported in June that Sansha City was established for China to better manage islands and waters in the West Philippine Sea. (CVB/HDT/AP/Sunnex)