PH to China: Leave Ayungin Shoal immediately

PH to China: Leave Ayungin Shoal immediately

/ 06:22 PM March 05, 2024

An aerial view shows the BRP Sierra Madre on the contested Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin, in the South China Sea, March 9, 2023. INQUIRER FILES

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the BRP Sierra Madre on the contested Second Thomas Shoal, locally known as Ayungin, in the South China Sea, March 9, 2023. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Teresita Daza said they summoned on Tuesday afternoon Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission Zhou Zhiyong to convey the Philippine government’s protest against aggressive actions undertaken by China in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Daza said that during the meeting held Tuesday afternoon, the Philippines appealed for Chinese vessels to immediately leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.

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According to Daza, Deputy Assistant Secretary Raphael Hermoso conveyed the Philippine protest as the Assistant Secretary for Assian and Pacific Affairs and the DFA Undersecretary are both in Melbourne, Australia.

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“[T]he Philippines stressed, among others, that China’s interference with the Philippines’ routine and lawful activities in its own exclusive economic zone is unacceptable. China’s actions in Ayungin Shoal infringe upon the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” said Daza.

In the same statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs maintained that Ayungin Shoal is a low-tide elevation that sits well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

In the same statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs maintained that Ayungin Shoal is a low-tide elevation that sits well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

A Philippine Coast Guard vessels vessel and a Chinese Coast Guard ship collided on Tuesday during China’s “dangerous maneuvers” in Philippine waters.

In another incident after the collision, China’s ship also attacked a Philippine vessel on a mission to bring supplies to troops in the grounded BRP Sierra Madre.

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Data from the DFA showed that the Philippines has filed 9 protests against China as of February 28, 2024. The total number of note verbales under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong Marcos” Jr. beginning July 1 2022 until February 28, 2024 is 142.

‘PH must bear full responsibility’

The Chinese Coast Guard, in a separate statement, likewise addressed the incidents. But instead of taking responsibility, they opted to blame the Philippines.

“China Coast Guard took strict regulatory actions to curtail the Philippine vessels’ intrusion, but made special arrangements for one Philippine vessel carrying necessities of life. The response of China Coast Guard is in accordance with legal protocols and based on professional procedures,” it said.

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“The Philippines side must bear full responsibility. The Philippines broke promises, provoked with extortion tactics, sensationalized the story, and keeps sabotaging the peace and stability of South China Sea. China Coast Guard remains on high alert, ready to firmly respond to any provocative actions at any time, and determined to safeguard national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests,” it added.

China has yet to detail what specific promise the Philippines broke, but to note — their sweeping claim over South China Sea has long been debunked by a historic arbitral ruling.

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: Ayungin Shoal, China, West Philippine Sea

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