Manila serves strongest warning to China over SCS claim since 2016

“Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory, then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate,” Phillippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a statement.

AP
NEW DELHI: China is upping the ante in the South China Sea (SCS) region and its ties with Philippine may now run into rough weather. The moves are being made simultaneously with Beijing’s belligerence along LAC and despite ASEAN strong emphasis on UNCLOS in SCS.

On Friday the Philippine foreign secretary warned China of “the severest response” if ongoing Chinese military exercises in the disputed South China Sea spill over into Philippine territory.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said China’s People’s Liberation Army has been staging exercises off the Paracel Islands since July 1 and Chinese maritime officials have prohibited all vessels from navigating within the area of the manoeuvres, according to a report in the Associated Press or AP.


“After checking the coordinates of the Chinese-declared no-entry zone where the maneuvers were being staged, Locsin said the waters off the Paracels, which are also claimed by Vietnam, “do not impinge on Philippine territory” but it was still a concern,” according to the AP report.

“Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory, then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate,” Locsin said in a statement.

The Philippine warning to China is the strongest since upswing in ties under President Rodrigo Duterte who took office in 2016.
ADVERTISEMENT

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday raised concern over the Chinese military exercises. “If they are doing it in the contested areas, that will sound the alarm bells for all the claimants here in the South China Sea,” Lorenzana told an online news forum.

Vietnam protested in April after a Chinese coast guard ship rammed and sank a boat with eight fishermen off the Paracel Islands.

“The Philippines backed Vietnam and protested two new territorial districts announced by China in large swaths of the sea, adding that China’s assertive actions were taking place while the region was intensely preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the AP report.

“Locsin said those territorial districts in the disputed waters were “null and void” because they were devoid of basis in international law. China has claimed virtually the entire waterway, one of the world’s busiest, on historical grounds but its claim was invalidated by an international tribunal in a 2016 ruling based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” according to the AP report.
ADVERTISEMENT

“This is the problem with playing fast and loose with historical narratives and historical names,” Locsin said. “They open themselves to error; unless the real purpose is to excuse unchallenged mistakes that may over time harden into China, like any other power, can invoke freedom of navigation while carrying out military exercises, Locsin said, but added that such passages should be done in a straight and uninterrupted voyage.

He called on “the erring parties to refrain from escalating tension and abide by the responsibilities under international law” and exercise self-restraint in taking actions that could escalate disputes, especially during the pandemic, AP reported.
ADVERTISEMENT

Download
The Economic Times Business News App
for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.
Download
The Economic Times News App
for Quarterly Results, Latest News in ITR, Business, Share Market, Live Sensex News & More.
READ MORE
ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE:

LOGIN & CLAIM

50 TIMESPOINTS

More from our Partners

Loading next story
Text Size:AAA
Success
This article has been saved

*

+