Dangerous? China says its vessels’ maneuvers were ‘professional, restrained’
MANILA, Philippines — China on Thursday denied accusations that its coast guard ships maneuvered dangerously close to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels in the West Philippine Sea last week, saying the actions were “professional and restrained.”
The PCG earlier sounded the alarm over the “dangerous maneuvers” of Chinese Coast Guard vessels on two PCG ships supporting a Philippine Navy resupply mission in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal on June 30.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin rebutted this as he maintained that the Ayungin Shoal, which he referred to as Ren’ai Reef, is “part of China’s Nansha Islands.”
He claimed PCG ships had “intruded into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef without Chinese permission.”
“In accordance with the law, the Chinese Coast Guard vessel carried out law enforcement activities to uphold China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order. The Chinese side’s maneuvers were professional and restrained,” Wang said in a news conference.
Ayungin Shoal, a reef some 194 kilometers off Palawan province, is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
China has sweeping claims in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated Beijing’s fictitious claims within the so-called nine-dash line, but the Asian giant has stubbornly refused to recognize the historic ruling.