习近平向第八届中俄博览会致贺信
习近平向第八届中俄博览会致贺信
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China urges the Philippines to tow away military vessel 'grounded' at Ren'ai Jiao

Source: Xinhua | 2023-08-08
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China urges the Philippines to tow away military vessel 'grounded' at Ren'ai Jiao

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- China is once again urging the Philippines to immediately tow away the military vessel "grounded" at Ren'ai Jiao and restore Ren'ai Jiao to its original state of having no personnel or facility on it, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.

On Aug. 7, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that on Aug. 5, in the waters adjacent to Ren'ai Jiao, China Coast Guard "took blocking and other aggressive maneuvers, including the use of a water cannon" against Philippine supply boats and Coast Guard vessels on a routine resupply mission to the military vessel grounded at Ren'ai Jiao. The Philippines says such actions violate the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 South China Sea arbitration award and infringe upon the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

When asked for comments, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the spokesperson of China Coast Guard had given detailed information regarding the Philippines illegally sending construction materials to Ren'ai Jiao in China's Nansha Qundao and the situation this action caused at sea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has lodged serious demarches with the Philippines.

The spokesperson stressed that Ren'ai Jiao is part of China's Nansha Qundao. The Philippines explicitly promised several times to tow away the military vessel deliberately and illegally "grounded" at Ren'ai Jiao. However, 24 years have passed and instead of towing it away, the Philippines has sought to repair and reinforce it on a large scale in order to permanently occupy Ren'ai Jiao.

The Philippines' action gravely violates international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed between China and ASEAN countries, the spokesperson said, once again urging the Philippines to immediately tow away the military vessel "grounded" at Ren'ai Jiao and restore Ren'ai Jiao to its original state of having no personnel or facility on it.

The spokesperson said that the so-called South China Sea arbitration award violates international law, including UNCLOS. "The award is illegal, null and void. China does not accept or recognize it, and will never accept any claim or action based on the award. This position is clear and firm, and is a legitimate step to uphold international rule of law."

For some time, China has repeatedly communicated with the Philippines through diplomatic channels concerning Ren'ai Jiao. "We made it clear to the Philippines that it must not send construction materials meant for repairing and reinforcing the grounded military vessel on a large scale, and we suggested that the two sides hold talks as soon as possible about ways to manage the situation at Ren'ai Jiao," the spokesperson said.

The Philippines, however, chose to ignore China's goodwill and sincerity and went ahead with sending construction materials for repairing and reinforcing the "grounded" military vessel on a large scale. This is the cause of what happened there this time. China Coast Guard responded in accordance with the law to safeguard China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. The maneuvers were professional, restrained and beyond reproach, the spokesperson said.

The Philippines is China's important maritime neighbor. Important common understandings exist between the two sides on managing maritime disputes. China stands ready to continue to work with the Philippines to properly handle maritime issues through dialogue and consultation and jointly uphold bilateral relations and maritime stability, the spokesperson said. 


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