China: Buoy installation in WPS is ‘an act of exercising sovereignty’
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Embassy on Friday defended Beijing’s deployment of buoys in the West Philippine Sea just days after Manila installed a similar navigation mark.
“China’s deployment of buoys in relevant waters of China’s Nansha (Spratly) Islands is an act of exercising its sovereignty in accordance with the law,” the embassy said in a statement.
“It aims to ensure the safety of maritime navigation and operations and provide public goods for passing ships and countries in the region,” it added.
The Philippine government has also defended its move to install navigational buoys in WPS.
National Security Adviser Eduardo Año on Friday said installing buoys in the WPS is the country’s sovereign right.
The Philippine Coast Guard has installed five additional navigational buoys off the Philippine-occupied islands of Patag (Flat), Kota (Loaita), Panata (Lankiam Cay), and the fishing grounds of Balagtas (Irving) Reef, and Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.
China also deployed a buoy vessel to the WPS a few days later.
An international arbitral tribunal ruled in 2016 to invalidate China’s claim to the South China Sea, but it never recognized the ruling.