China warned PH of ‘potential consequences’ amid ‘infringement’ in WPS

MANILA. In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard ship, top, tries to block a Philippine government vessel at the disputed South China Sea on Thursday, March 21, 2024.
MANILA. In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard ship, top, tries to block a Philippine government vessel at the disputed South China Sea on Thursday, March 21, 2024.Philippine Coast Guard via AP

A CHINESE official has warned the Philippines of “potential consequences” amid its continued “infringement” in the South China Sea, which it maintains to be part of their territory.

In a statement, China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian expressed strong opposition, as he accused the Philippines of sending construction materials to BRP Sierra Madre, which was deliberately grounded by the Philippine government in Ayungin Shoal to signify the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“China Coast Guard took necessary measures at sea to safeguard our rights, firmly obstructed the Philippines’ vessels, and foiled the Philippines’ attempt. Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters, including Ren’ai Jiao, have always been China’s territory. This is established in the long course of history, and complies with international law,” Lin said.

“The Philippines should immediately stop its infringement and provocation, and refrain from undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea. If the Philippines insists on going its own way, China will continue to adopt resolute measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. The Philippines should be prepared to bear all potential consequences,” he added.

In a separate statement, China Coast Guard spokesperson Gan Yun said the Philippines’ “irregular” resupply mission to Ren’ai Jiao infringes upon China’s sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests and undermines peace and stability in the South China Sea.

He echoed Lin’s statement that the operation is an attempt to bring construction materials in the “illegal grounded” ship, noting that it was only 18 days after its last resupply mission.

“The China Coast Guard implemented lawful regulation, interception, and expulsion in a reasonable and professional manner,” said Gan.

“We warn the Philippines that playing with fire is an invitation of disgrace, and the China Coast Guard is ready at all times to defend the country's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,” he added.

The Philippine government, however, stood firm of its position that the territory is within its exclusive economic zone.

In an interview with reporters, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. urged China to bring their sovereignty claim of the South China Sea to arbitration instead of issuing threats, as he noted that not a single country in the world believes in their claims.

“Kung talagang gusto nila, kung talaga siguro hindi sila natatakot na ihayag sa boung mundo ang kanilang claim, bakit hindi tayo mag-arbitrate sa ilalim ng international law para maliwanag sa lahat kung ano ang karapatan ng kahit sino,” he said.

(If they really want to, if they really are not afraid to reveal their claim to the world, why don't we arbitrate under international law so that it is clear to everyone what is the right of anyone.)

Teodoro maintains that the rotation and resupply missions being conducted in the WPS are legitimate and regular.

On Saturday, March 23, Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia acted recklessly and dangerously against Philippine Coast Guard vessels and Unaizah May 4 (UM4) using water cannons, causing severe damage to the vessel and injuries to three Navy personnel onboard.

MANILA. In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, a Chinese coast guard ship, top, tries to block a Philippine government vessel at the disputed South China Sea on Thursday, March 21, 2024.
3 Navy personnel hurt amid China’s continuous aggression in WPS

National Security Adviser and National Task Force on West Philippine Sea chairman Eduardo Año has requested the convening of a meeting with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and the National Security Cluster for purposes of making recommendations to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regarding the incident. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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