PH files protest on China’s creation of Sansha City in disputed islands
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that it has filed a protest over China’s declaration of Sansha City, saying that the extent of the jurisdiction of the city violates Philippine sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.
“The DFA sent a note verbale [on June 28] and handed [this] to Ambassador Ma [Keqing] [to protest] the establishment of Sansha city as the extent of the jurisdiction of the city violates Philippine territorial sovereignty over the Kalayaan Group and Bajo de Masinloc…,” Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, said in a press briefing Thursday.
Hernandez said the establishment of the city “infringes on Philippine sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelves of the West Philippine Sea.”
Hernandez added that the declaration of the city contradicted the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
He said that the note verbale also reiterated the Philippine claims that Kalayaan Island Group and Scarborough Shoal and the waters and the continental shelves around them formed an integral part of the Philippine territory and maritime jurisdiction.
The Chinese government raised the administrative status of Spratlys, the Paracels, and the Macclesfield Bank, known in Chinese as Nansha, Xinsha, and Zhongsha islands, in the South China Sea from county-level to prefectural-level, establishing the pre-fectural level city of Sansha to govern the three island groups and their surrounding waters.
China and Vietnam are disputing sovereignty over the Paracels and parts of the Spratlys.
China last month summoned Vietnam’s ambassador in Beijing and protested a law adopted by the Vietnamese parliament that places the disputed Spratly islands under Hanoi’s sovereignty.
The Philippines claims parts of the Spratlys and Macclesfield Bank, a huge group of reefs and shoals in the middle of the West Philippine Sea.
Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines all claim parts of the West Philippine Sea Sea.