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China hits comments 'stirring up' disputes with Philippines

In this Friday, April 21, 2017, photo, engineers from NAMRIA, the central mapping agency of the Philippine Government, survey the area around the Philippine-claimed Thitu Island with a sandbar sitting on the horizon off the disputed South China Sea in western Philippines. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, two Filipino security officials said China has deployed its navy and coast guard ships in a cluster of uninhabited sandbars in the disputed South China Sea amid concerns that the Philippines may build structures on them in an emerging territorial issue that the government stated was quickly resolved. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing has noted remarks accusing them of invading the territory of the Philippines, which President Rodrigo Duterte already denied.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier warned the Philippine government that China is guarding Sandy Cay located some 2.5 nautical miles off Pag-asa Island in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Duterte, however, dismissed Carpio's warning and said that the Chinese "are just there, but they do not claim anything."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that Carpio may harbor ulterior motives for making such claims.

READ: Carpio: China virtually occupying Sandy Cay | Duterte: Why defend disputed sandbar?

"The attempt of some individuals in the Philippines who made irresponsible condemnation against China is nothing but stirring up disputes between China and the Philippines," Hua said at a press briefing in Beijing Tuesday.

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Hua stressed Beijing's commitment to peacefully resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation with parties directly concerned.

"China stands ready to work with the ASEAN countries, including the Philippines to implement the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea in a comprehensive and effective manner, deepen maritime pragmatic cooperation, actively advance the consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, jointly uphold the hard-won sound situation in the South China Sea and move forward the positive development of the China-Philippine relations," she added.

Despite Duterte's remarks that the Chinese are not claiming any feature in the disputed waters, a Chinese flag has reportedly been mounted on a sandbar near Philippines-controlled Kota Island in the West Philippine Sea.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that a Chinese vessel allegedly erected a three-meter high Chinese flag in a Philippine-claimed area. The flag mounted on a steel pipe was reportedly discovered around the third week of July.

RELATED: Cayetano cites 'change' of South China Sea strategy

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