China rejects Philippines' protest on Ayungin incident
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2014 - 10:07am

MANILA, Philippines — China rejectd anew the Philippines' protest against its actions in the disputed seas after Beijing admitted preventing Filipino-owned ships from delivering construction materials to a Philippine-occupied shoal.

"The Foreign Ministry has summoned the head of the Philippines Embassy in China to lodge solemn representation on this event," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said late Wednesday.

Chinese coast guard vessels on Sunday drove away two Philippine vessels carrying construction materials meant for Ayungin Shoal, which China calls Ren'ai Reef.

The Chinese official said that the country's move to contest China's actions is proof of its intention to illegally occupy the Chinese-claimed reef.

The Philippines claims that Ayungin shoal is within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China claims ownership of nearly the entire South China Sea.

Qin said that Manila's reaction to the recent incident has heightened the territorial tension.

Chinese Embassy spokesperson Zhang Hua, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) asserting ownership of Ayungin Shoal is unacceptable.

Beijing is also demanding from the Philippines to immediately remove its stranded warship that has been in the reef since 1999.

The Philippine Navy said that Philippine troops remained stationed in the stranded vessel.

Reacting to the March 9 incident, the DFA had said that "the Philippines is entitled to exercise sovereignty rights and jurisdiction in the area without the permission of other States."

The DFA also explained that the Philippine Navy was only conducting rotation of personnel and resupply operations in the area, belying Beijing's claims that the country's ships were en route to a construction project in the contested coastal territories.

"The Department summoned the Chinese Charge d’Affaires this afternoon to handover a note verbale to express the Government’s objection to China’s actions," DFA said in a statement last Tuesday. with Xinhua

AYUNGIN SHOAL BEIJING CHINA CHINESE CHARGE CHINESE EMBASSY DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOREIGN MINISTRY LAW OF THE SEA PHILIPPINE NAVY PHILIPPINES EMBASSY
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