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PLA to protect waters near Huangyan

All provocations and infringements in South China Sea will be countered

By Jiang Chenglong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-01 07:10
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The Chinese military will resolutely counter all provocations and infringements in the South China Sea, a defense ministry spokesperson said on Thursday, responding to recent comments and actions by the Philippines in the region.

Philippine officials claimed recently that they will not back down on their maritime claims. The People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command has conducted naval and aerial patrols in the South China Sea following joint maritime military exercises and joint aerial patrols in the region by the Philippines and the United States.

A Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson also accused Chinese vessels of violating the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea by closely approaching Philippine Coast Guard ships patrolling near Huangyan Island.

At a news conference, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang rebutted the accusation, saying that "the Philippine side's comments are purely a distortion of truth and malicious hype".

"The Philippine Coast Guard ships have repeatedly illegally entered the waters near China's Huangyan Island," he said."China has legally taken measures such as issuing warnings and controlling navigation routes. The on-site handling was reasonable, lawful, professional and restrained.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters. We urge the Philippine side not to act unilaterally and cause trouble."

Zhang said China will continue to carry out rights protection and law enforcement activities in its jurisdictional waters, resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

He also accused the Philippines of recently rallying countries from outside the South China Sea to stir up trouble in the region, organizing so-called joint military exercises and joint patrols and publicly hyping these activities.

Zhang said the Philippine side had seriously violated the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, endangering regional peace and stability, and running counter to the efforts of regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Zhang emphasized that the US — not a party to the South China Sea issue — should adhere to its commitment not to take sides on the issue, and stop meddling and instigating trouble.

"The South China Sea is the common home of regional countries," he said. "China insists on managing differences through dialogue and consultation with relevant parties."

However, he also warned that "the Chinese military always remains on high alert and firmly counters all acts of infringement and provocation, steadfastly defending territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests".

On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning responded to media reports that China has recently reinstalled a floating barrier at Huangyan Island. She said China was compelled to take necessary measures in response to a series of moves by the Philippines in the region.

Stressing that Huangyan Island has always been China's territory, Mao said China took necessary measures to firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights in response to a series of moves by the Philippines in the waters of Huangyan Island that infringed on China's sovereignty.


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