Chinese diplomat calls on Phl to ‘stop making provocations at sea’

An official from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines called on the Philippines to “stop making provocations at sea” following the collision of Chinese and Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines Zhou Zhiyong also called on the Philippines to “take seriously China’s grave concerns.”

Zhou made the statement after meeting with Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau.

He represented Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, who was summoned by the DFA to explain the collision between a Chinese Coast Guard ship and the Unaiza May 2, an indigenous boat contracted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for a routine resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal, which they refer to as Ren’ai Jiao.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said Zhou “conveyed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition of the Chinese side to the Philippine side over its vessels’ intruding the waters of Ren’ai Jiao on October 22.”

He also stressed that Ren’ai Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Qundao and China’s territory.

Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, is located 105 nautical miles west of Palawan and is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Likewise, Zhou reiterated China’s call on the Philippines to tow away the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal “as soon as possible so that the peace and stability of the South China Sea will not be jeopardized and the common interests of countries in the region will not be affected.”

The BRP Sierra Madre, a World War 2 ship, was aground in Ayungin Shoal since 1999. It serves as a permanent station of the Philippine military in the area in response to China’s illegal occupation of Panganiban Reef in 1995.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands favored the Philippines’ claims in the West Philippine Sea, rejecting China’s nine-dash line claim.

China, however, has continued to reject the arbitral ruling and stood by its historic rights over the area.

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