China accuses PH again of ‘heightening tensions’ in WPS | Global News

China accuses PH again of ‘heightening tensions’ in WPS

/ 01:18 AM December 19, 2023

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin takes a question during the daily Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on July 24, 2020. (FIle photo from GREG BAKER / AFP via China Daily/Asia News Network)

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin takes a question during the daily Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on July 24, 2020. (File photo by GREG BAKER / AFP via China Daily / Asia News Network)

MANILA, Philippines — China on Monday evening once again accused the Philippines of “heightening tensions” in the West Philippine Sea, saying it “courted external forces” to put pressure on it.

It’s the Philippines — not China — that has been attempting to change the status of Ayungin Shoal, called Ren’ai Jiao in Chinese, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a press conference.

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“Over the past few months, it has been the Philippines who is breaching the common understandings with China and heightening tensions in the South China Sea; it is the Philippines who has attempted to change the current status of Ren’ai Jiao; and it is the Philippines who has on every occasion courted external forces to put pressure on China,” Wang said.

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He maintained that the Philippines, bolstered by “external support,” had brushed aside China’s “goodwill and restraint” and repeatedly challenged his country.

“This is the major risk that could drive up tensions at sea,” Wang said.

His main point of argument is backed by the Philippines’ alleged promise to tow away the BRP Sierra Madre grounded at Ayungin Shoal. China asserted that the Philippines’ persistence was what caused tension between the two countries.

But President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has long denied that the Philippines made any such promise, adding that should any agreement exist, he rescinded it.

The Philippines, the United States, and Japan earlier called on China to abide by the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and desist, in all forms, its provocative behavior in the West Philippine Sea.

READ: China rammed, water cannoned PH resupply vessels – Coast Guard

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Despite this call, Wang said China would not weaken in its resolve to safeguard its “territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.”

“We hope the Philippines will realize that tying itself to some major power and forcing China to back down on issues concerning China’s core interests will lead nowhere. Ultimately, it is the Philippines’ own interests and the region’s peace and stability that will take the toll,” said Wang.

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INQUIRER.net sought the Department of Foreign Affairs’ comment on Wang’s allegations, but it has not responded as of this writing.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

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

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