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DFA summons Chinese embassy officials amid Ayungin incident

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RESUPPLY MISSION. Philippine Navy soldiers transfer essential cargoes from Unaizah May 4 and BRP Cabra to the BRP Sierra Madre off Ayungin Shoal on Saturday (March 23, 2024). The resupply boat Unaizah May 4 was damaged by yet another water cannon attack by the Chinese Coast Guard. (Photo courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines)
MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said it has summoned officials of the Chinese Embassy to express the Philippines' "strong protest" over the "aggressive actions" by the Chinese Coast Guard and its maritime militia against the rotation and resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal on Saturday.
In a statement, the DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Beijing has also been instructed to lodge the same démarche (formal diplomatic representation) with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"In these démarches, the Philippines stressed, among others, that China has no right to be in Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation that lies within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and as affirmed by the 2016 Arbitral Award," it said.
The DFA noted China's continued interference with the Philippines' routine and lawful activities in its own exclusive economic zone is "unacceptable."
"It infringes upon the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction. The Philippines demands that Chinese vessels leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal and the Philippine exclusive economic zone immediately," it said.
"The Philippines has made sincere efforts to implement the instruction of President Marcos and President Xi to lower tensions. China's aggressive actions call into question its sincerity in lowering the tensions and promoting peace and stability in the South China Sea," it added.
The DFA also said China's aggressive actions contradict and put to waste ASEAN-China efforts to promote practical activities to foster peace and cooperation in the region even as the Philippines continues to engage China in dialogue and diplomacy at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
"The Philippines urges China to take the correct track of abiding by international law and respecting the legitimate rights of other states like the Philippines, and to cease and desist from its continued violation of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award," it said.
Over the weekend China's foreign ministry said Philippine vessels "tried to bring construction materials to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal and the China Coast Guard only took necessary measures at sea in accordance with law to safeguard China's rights, firmly obstructed the Philippines' vessels, and foiled the Philippines' attempt."
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines released videos showing Chinese vessels trying to block its resupply mission with maneuvers and water cannon.
Two-faced action
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said China's actions contradict its earlier calls for peaceful dialogue to end the dispute in the WPS.
"Kung talagang gusto nila, kung talaga siguro hindi sila natatakot na ihayag sa buong mundo ang kanilang claim bakit hindi tayo magarbitrate sa ilalim ng international law para maliwanag sa lahat kung ano ang karapatan ng kahit sino, bakit ayaw nila? Pagkatapos pag nahuhuli sila sa mga hindi tamang sinasabi nila, ayan na magbabanta, tama ba yun?," he said in a press briefing.
(If they really want, if they are not really scared to broadcast to the entire world their claims, why don't we enter arbitration under international law so that it can be made clear for everyone the rights of the two parties. Why don't they do so? And if they are caught making untruthful statements, they will use threats, is that that right?)
Teodoro said the Philippines can only be rightfully accused of doing provocative actions if it is doing these within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of other nations.
"Hindi naman tayo ang nambubuyo dito eh. Ano bang pambubuyo ang ginawa natin? Kung ginawa natin ito within their 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone sa may Hainan island, yun ang probokasyon, eh dito nila ginagawa eh (We are not provoking anyone, what provocation are we doing? If we are doing actions within the EEZ of Hainan Island, that is provocation, but they are the ones doing that to us here," he added.
Teodoro also described as insulting Beijing's claims that Manila's actions in the WPS are influenced of other nations.
"Ito'y napakalaking insulto sa atin mga kababayan, kinukunan ka nga ng teritoryo sinasabi ikaw pa ay sunod-sunuran sa ibang bansa. Doble, sinipa ka na tapos sinuntok ka pa," he said.
(This is a big insult for our fellow Filipinos, our territory is being taken away and yet you are told that you are just a blind follower to another countries. This is too much. You get kicked and then you get punched.)
Teodoro said China is encroaching on Philippine territory and using its expansive claims on the South China Sea, which is not believed by any country in the world, as a justification for doing so.
He also scored China for its threats to use force as an attempt to scare and make the Philippines give way to their ambitions.
"Ang paggamit ng dahas upang takutin at payukuin ang Pilipinas sa kanilang ambisyon kung ano man yun, so yan ang reaksyon ko, bakit kayo nananakot?" he added.
(The use of force to scare and make the Philippines kneel to their ambition, that is my reaction, why are you using threats?)
China should be held accountable for attacks
Senator Grace Poe wants to hold China accountable for its continued actions against Philippine vessels in the country's exclusive economic zone.
"While the Philippines continues to deal with the attacks in legal, legitimate and calm manner, we must also seek accountability," Poe said in a statement.
"This uncivilized action should stop. We must hold the Chinese vessel responsible for the injury inflicted on our troops," she added, noting that resupply missions within Philippine territory are legal and "must not be disrupted by intruders." (With a report from Wilnard Bacelonia/PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Mar-26 12.00.00 UTC+0800