The Philippines on Thursday “strongly” protested against the recent moves by China in the disputed South China Sea, calling it a violation of its sovereignty.
In a statement, the Philippines’ Foreign Ministry said that the government “strongly protests” China’s establishment of two districts in the South China Sea and does not recognize Sansha City, nor its constituent units, as it overlaps with the country’s maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea. It has also asked China to adhere to international laws, local media reported.
Early this month, Beijing established the districts of Nansha (Spratly Islands) and Xisha (Paracel Islands), which would be under the administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared Sansha City.
“The Philippines government strongly protests the establishment of the so-called districts of ‘Nansha’ and ‘Xisha’ under the supposed administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared ‘Sansha City’ announced on April 18 by the People’s Republic of China,” the ministry was quoted by The Philippine Star as saying.
“It does not recognize Sansha, nor its constituent units, nor any subsequent acts emanating from them,” the DFA said.
China also designating a disputed South China Sea reef (Fiery Cross Reef) as a regional administrative center in the hotly contested Spratly archipelago.
The foreign ministry said that the latest actions in the contested waterway also infringes on the country’s sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea, the statement read.
The Philippines government has protested since 2012 China’s unlawful establishment of Sansha City and the extent of its administrative jurisdiction, which encompasses Philippine territory and maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea.
The South China Sea is grouped into three archipelagos including the Paracel Islands and Spratly island. China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory, and it has aggressively asserted its stake in recent years.
Paracel island is disputed between China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It has been occupied by China.
Meanwhile, Spratly island is claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and to a lesser degree, Brunei.
On April 23 during a video conference with ASEAN states, US Secretary Mike Pompeo blamed China for continued bullying tactics in the South China Sea (SCS) that is distracting current efforts of the International Community to deal with the pandemic.
Besides building up and fortifying reefs and islands, Beijing has dispatched survey ships to assert mineral rights and deployed large numbers of coast guard to the area. It has also worked steadily in recent years to modernize and expand the PLA Navy to protect what Beijing calls its sovereign territory.
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