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China claims sovereignty over Pagasa Island; accuses PH of encroachment

By: Charie Abarca - | April 13,2024 - 04:43 PM

China asserted its sovereign rights over Pagasa Island on Thursday, accusing the Philippines, in return, of “illegally occupying” the area.

Philippine soldier Tychico Octobre patrols a beach in Pagasa Island (Thitu Island) at the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, on May 11, 2015. The Spratlys are considered a potential Asian flashpoint, and claimant nations have expressed alarm as China has embarked on massive reclamation activity. AFP PHOTO / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO / AFP PHOTO / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO

MANILA, Philippines — China asserted its sovereign rights over Pagasa Island on Thursday, accusing the Philippines, in return, of “illegally occupying” the area.

“This is our waters. I have no other [information] for you,” Chinese embassy told in a Viber message when it was asked about the reported presence of its vessels near Philippine-governed Pagasa Island earlier this week.

“Zhongye Dao (Pagasa Island) is illegally occupied by the Philippines. China has sovereignty over Nansha Qundao, Zhongsha Qundao, including Huangyan Dao, Zhongye Dao, and their adjacent waters, and has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters,” it also said.

READ: PH, China agree to ease tensions in WPS during bilateral talks sought confirmation from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs on whether or not there’s truth to the reported presence of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island, but none of the three agencies have so far provided data on it.

READ: PCG ‘overwhelmed’ by Christmas gifts offered to Pag-asa Island guards

Territorial sovereignty

The DFA, however, previously defied China’s claims and insisted that the Philippines owns the area.

“Pag-asa island is part of the [Kalayaan Island Group] over which the Philippines exercises territorial sovereignty, jurisdiction and effective administration in accordance with international law,” it said.

READ: China insists it owns Pag-asa Island, says PH ‘illegally occupied’ it

Pag-asa is an island in the Kalayaan chain at least 285 nautical miles from Palawan. The Philippines has long established military and civilian presence in the area.

China’s sweeping nine-dash claim — now a 10-dash claim — over most of South China was already debunked in 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

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TAGS: China, Kalayaan Island Group, Pagasa Island

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