Locsin on China’s Spratlys claim: We say no, it’s ours
MANILA, Philippines —Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday refuted China’s claims of the Spratly Islands, saying that “it’s ours.”
“He says it’s theirs, you know, we may have different views of what kind of society China is to the Philippines, but we know we’re democratic but in the world, in a society, the community of nations, it’s a democracy. And they can say what they want, the question is, we say no, it’s ours,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
The foreign affairs chief’s statement comes as a response to China’s assertion that the Spratly Islands are within its territory as supported by “sufficient historical and legal basis.”
“We have taken note of those remarks made by the Philippine officials. The Nansha (Spratly) Islands are within China’s territory, for which we have sufficient historical and legal basis,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference in Beijing last week.
“For thousands of years, Chinese fishermen have been fishing in these waters in the South China Sea. Their rights should not be challenged,” he added.
However, Locsin countered: They say history, we say law.
The Spratly Islands and its many reefs are being claimed by China under its “nine-dash line” claim covering nearly the entire South China Sea including parts of West Philippine Sea.
China insisted that it has “historic rights” in asserting its ownership of the region.
In January 2013, the Philippines filed a case challenging the expansive claims of China in the South China Sea before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea in July 2016, which China refused to recognize.
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