DFA says PH activities in WPS ‘not subject to other country’s approval’
MANILA, Philippines — The activities of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) “is not subject to any other country’s approval,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.
DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza made the response on Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian’s statement that Beijing only has a problem with the transport of “large-scale building materials” and not with the delivery of humanitarian supplies for BRP Sierra Madre.
“The rotation and resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre are legitimate and routine activities in our EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” Daza said in a statement.
“The Philippine’s exercise of its sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction within our maritime zones is not subject to any other country’s approval,” she added. “This is the norm.”
Since 1999, the BRP Sierra Madre has hosted a small contingent of military personnel in Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation about 194 kilometers off Palawan province that is well within the country’s EEZ.
The PCG on Tuesday conducted successfully the latest resupply mission in the ship, but not without China’s attempt to block Philippine vessels.
To recall, the BRP Sierra Madre hogged the headlines after Chinese coast guard vessels used water cannons against PCG boats supplying the commissioned ship last August 5.
China’s actions are anchored on its assertion that it owns almost all of the areas in the South China Sea, including the WPS though its nine-dash line.
But the Philippines challenged this before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which later invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim.