Philippines Reject Beijing's Opinion on Its Drills
The Philippines has taken a tougher tone on Wednesday over the lingering presence of hundreds of Communist China's boats in its waters and Beijing's attempt to intervene in Islands' military drills.
China has no business telling the Philippines what it can or cannot do within its waters, Manila’s defence ministry stated on Wednesday, rejecting Beijing’s opposition to its ongoing coastguard exercises.
Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Communist China has no authority or legal basis to prevent us from conducting these exercises in the South China Sea because “their claims have no basis.”
Communist China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about US $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes each year. In 2016, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague rule that claim, which Beijing regime bases on its old maps, is inconsistent with international law.
The Philippine coastguard and fisheries bureau started maritime exercises on Saturday inside the country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone,, following an announcement of a boosting of its presence to counter the “threatening” presence of Communist Chinese boats.
Responding to the exercises, Communist China’s foreign ministry on Monday said the Philippines should “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.”
"We must not fail to protest"
The Philippine defence ministry in a statement responded saying: “China has no business telling the Philippines what it can and cannot do.”
The Philippines has taken a tough tone in recent weeks over the lingering presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in its Exclusive Economic Zone, reviving tensions that had eased due to President Rodrigo Duterte embrace of Beijing.
On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin ordered the filing of another diplomatic protest, one of more than a dozen recently, this time over China’s rebuke.
They can say what they want from the Chinese mainland; we continue to assert from our waters by right of international law what we won in The Hague. But we must not fail to protest, Mr. Locsin stated.
The exercises took place near a Philippine-held island in the disputed Spratly archipelago and at the heavily contested Scarborough Shoal, which the tribunal in 2016 said was a traditional fishing spot for several countries.