DFA slaps China, tells Beijing to respect PH sovereignty

By: Frances Mangosing - Inquirer.net | April 30,2020 - 06:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) virtually slapped China in the face, declaring that the Philippines was rejecting China’s naming of geographical features in Philippine territory in the Kalayaan Island Group and establishing districts that would mean Chinese governance over the area.

In a statement, the DFA said the Philippines “does not recognize the Chinese names given to some features in the Kalayaan Island Group” which is part of the Philippines.

On April 18, China announced it had given Chinese names to 25 islands, shoals and reefs and 55 underwater mountains and ridges in the South China Sea.

It came a day after China declared that it had established two districts—Nansha and Xisha—in the area which would be governed by Sansha City.

Xisha would take control of the Paracel Islands, Macclesfield Bank and waters surrounding this.

Nansha extended into Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

These two districts would have a main base on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef which is claimed by the Philippines.

The DFA said it was protesting the “illegal designation” of the Kagitingan Reef as the administrative center of the so-called Nansha district.

“Kagitingan Reef is within the Kalayaan Island Group and is thus an integral part of Philippine territory,” it said.

The naming of Chinese districts was subject of two diplomatic protests filed by the Philippines last week. The other subject of diplomatic protest was a Chinese warship’s hostile act of preparing to fire its guns at a BRP Conrado Yap, a Philippine Navy vessel, near Rizal (Commodore) Reef last February.

“The establishment and supposed extent of jurisdiction of ‘Sansha City’ of which the new two districts are part, violate Philippine territorial sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc, and infringes on Philippine sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea,” the DFA said.

It also cited the 2016 arbitral ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, rejecting China’s “excessive claims and illegal actions” in the South China Sea.

“The Philippine 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. It does not recognize Sansha, nor its constituent units, nor any subsequent acts emanating from them,” the DFA said.

It called on China to adhere to international law and “exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities” that could hurt peace and stability in the contested waters.

China has been using the COVID-19 pandemic as a smokescreen to escalate aggression in the South China Sea.

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: BEIJING, China, DFA, tells

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