West Philippine Sea ‘ours’ despite China-built structures, says DFA chief
MANILA, Philippines — Manila’s top diplomat on Thursday asserted the Philippines’ ownership of maritime features in the West Philippine Sea despite China’s massive construction in the area.
“Within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) so it’s ours. The durability and vintage of the structures don’t matter. Ours,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Twitter.
He was responding to a query regarding structures that are being built and already established in the West Philippine Sea, which were seen during a routine patrol of the area by the Philippine military on Wednesday.
Within our EEZ so it’s ours. The durability and vintage of the structures don’t matter. Ours. https://t.co/FO5P0o0PMvFEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATION
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) March 31, 2021
During that patrol, the Philippine military aircraft was asked by a Chinese fleet to “leave immediately.”
“This is Philippine government aircraft. We are conducting routine maritime patrol over Philippine EEZ, and we are proceeding based on our planned route,” replied the Philippine military response to the Chinese challenge.
Manila and Beijing have long been locked in a maritime dispute and in 2013, the Philippines filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague challenging China’s sweeping claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
In July 2016, The Hague-based court handed down a historical decision in favor of the Philippines and invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim but Beijing has repeatedly refused to recognize the ruling.
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