Manila, Philippines (AP)-An annoyed Philippine Secretary of Defense on Saturday again asked dozens of Chinese ships to leave Manila’s South China Reef, and said he would not be fooled by China’s claim that these ships are on a boat to avoid bad things. the weather.
The Chinese Embassy objected to the “confusing statement” made by Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana and insisted that ships have the right to asylum in what it calls Chinese territory. It said: “No one has the right to make wanton remarks about such activities.”
Earlier last month, the Philippine Coast Guard saw more than 200 Chinese ships in the Whitsun Reef, which Lorenzana called “militias.” The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest, claiming that the reef is called Julian Felipe and is located in an internationally recognized offshore area where it has exclusive rights to exploit fisheries, oil, natural gas and other resources.
China ignored Manila’s request for Chinese ships to leave the area, which was called Niue Reef and claimed to be Chinese territory. The Chinese Embassy in Manila stated that these ships are avoiding coral reef shelters in harsh sea conditions.
Lorenzana said in a statement on Saturday: “The Chinese Embassy has a lot to explain,” he added, adding that the latest Philippine military surveillance showed that 44 Chinese ships are still anchored on the reef.
“I’m not a fool. So far, the weather has been good, so they have no other reason to stay there. These ships should sail out. You should leave there,” Lorenzana said on Saturday.
The Chinese Embassy made a new response, repeating that these ships are covering up the so-called Chinese waters.
The embassy said: “It is completely normal for Chinese fishing boats to fish in waters and take refuge near submerged reefs under sea conditions.
The embassy said: “We hope that the relevant authorities will make constructive efforts to avoid any unprofessional speech that may cause irrational emotions.” It added: “China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the waters.”
Whitsunday Reef is located in Nansha, the most controversial area in the South China Sea. The Philippines regards resource-rich islands, islets and atoll chains as part of its western province of Palawan. However, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have sovereignty over all or part of the sea. In recent years, China has turned seven disputed coral reefs into missile-protected island bases, increasing tensions.
The United States expressed support for the Philippines, a long-term treaty ally, and accused China of using “maritime militias to intimidate, provoke and threaten other countries, which undermines peace and security in the region.” Beijing denies that these ships are part of the maritime militia.
Since taking office in 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has established friendly relations with Beijing and has been criticized for failing to immediately demand China’s compliance with international arbitration rulings, which have given Beijing to almost the entire South China Sea The historical claim of is invalid. China refuses to recognize the 2016 ruling, calling it “false” and continues to ignore it.