Beijing protests PH ‘infringement’ on ‘Chinese territory’ | Global News

Beijing protests PH ‘infringement’ on ‘Chinese territory’

/ 05:40 AM December 13, 2023

Huang Xilian

Huang Xilian

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese Ambassador to Manila Huang Xilian has lodged Beijing’s “strong protests” against Manila’s “infringement” on “Chinese territory” and its provocation in the South China Sea, according to the Xinhua state media.

It said Huang did so when he was summoned by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, where Foreign Undersecretary Maria Theresa Lazaro “verbally delivered” the Philippines’ protest following the two harassment incidents by Chinese militia vessels of Philippine supply boats over the weekend.


During the meeting, Lazaro reported Manila’s request for Beijing to direct its vessels to “cease and desist” from its illegal actions against local vessels or “lingering in waters around Ayungin Shoal,” which is within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.


Broken promise

The 2016 Arbitral Award reaffirmed the country’s EEZ and rejected China’s expansionist 10-dash line claim over nearly the entire South China Sea for having “no basis in international law.” Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.

According to the Chinese Embassy in Manila, more than 100 diplomatic protests have been filed against the Philippines this year.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning insisted that “responsibility of the incident lies with the Philippines” and urged Manila to stop “spreading disinformation to hype up the incidents.”

“I would like to stress that the responsibility for the recent emergencies in waters of Ren’ai Jiao lies with the Philippines. The root cause is that the Philippines has broken its promise and refused to tow away the illegally grounded warship at the reef and tried to reinforce it in an attempt to permanently occupy [Ayungin],” Mao said in a briefing in Beijing.

She was referring to the BRP Sierra Madre, which has been grounded in Ayungin Shoal since 1999 precisely to deter Chinese incursion.

President Marcos has denied making any promise to tow away the Sierra Madre and even if there was one, he said he has since rescinded it.


“We have also put forward proposals on managing and controlling the situation at [Ayungin]. The ball is now with the Philippine side,” Mao added, without expounding.

The Inquirer reached out to the Chinese Embassy to get more details but it had yet to respond as of press time on Tuesday.

It was the third time Huang was summoned by the government this year. The first was by President Marcos himself in February after the China Coast Guard used a military-grade laser against Philippine vessels, and again in October by the DFA following the collision incident, although Huang was represented by the Chinese Embassy’s charge d’affaires since he was “out of town.”

‘Mind your own business’

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday said the situation in the West Philippine Sea would not have worsened had Chinese President Xi Jinping listened to President Marcos.

During a dinner in Malacañang two weeks ago with senators, Zubiri said he asked the President about his meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in San Francisco on Nov. 17.

“Migz, in no small terms, I just said, ‘You know, we wouldn’t be having this problem if you’ve just minded your own business and we minded ours. We’re just doing resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal, helping our fisherfolk in Bajo de Masinloc,’” Zubiri recalled the President as telling him.

“‘And if you want to watch over our Coast Guard ships, our (resupply) ships, as well as our fishing vessels, (it’s) fine. (There’s) no problem. But don’t do any aggressive maneuvers, like blocking (or) ramming them.’ He told that straight to President Xi,” Zubiri said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

When he asked Mr. Marcos how Xi reacted, Zubiri said the President told him that the Chinese leader was “quiet, stoic and (was just) looking at him.”

Escalation of tension

Chinese ships have been harassing resupply vessels to the BRP Sierra Madre in recent months, but the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea said China’s dangerous maneuvers and water cannon attacks in the resupply missions in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) and Ayungin over the weekend marked a “serious escalation.”

Top military officials from the Philippines and the United States have agreed to continue their close coordination on regional security in the wake of increasing Chinese harassment.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and US chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Brown spoke by telephone on Monday to discuss regional security, “including China’s actions hindering resupply at (Ayungin Shoal),” Brown’s office said in a statement.

Both officials also discussed mutual strategic security interests and opportunities for increased military cooperation.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder underscored Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to uphold its obligations under its mutual defense treaty with the Philippines and urged “all nations to work together in the region to ensure that ships and aircraft can sail wherever international law allows.”

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“We’re going to continue to consult very closely with our Philippine allies and our partners in the region,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.


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TAGS: China incursions, Huang Xilian, maritime dispute, PH-China Relations, West Philippine Sea

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