China rejects 'unjustifed' US policy on South China Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
China rejects 'unjustifed' US policy on South China Sea
This file photo taken on April 1, 1995 shows China's flag flying over octagonal structures built on stilts at the Manila-claimed Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands, known as Nansha islands by China, located in the South China Sea. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 13, 2020 the United States would treat Beijing's pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea as illegal, ramping up support for Southeast Asian nations and triggering a furious response from Beijing.
AFP / Romeo Gacad

MANILA, Philippines — In response to the United States' latest policy on the South China Sea, Beijing accused Washington of "exaggerating" the situation in the region.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier released a statement, the strongest so far in support of a July 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, to counter Beijing's "unlawful" claims in the contested waterway.

The Chinese Embassy in the US, meanwhile, pointed out that Washington is not a country directly involved in the maritime dispute but has kept on interfering on the matter.

For the Chinese, Pompeo's latest pronouncements "distorts" facts and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"The accusation is completely unjustified. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it," the Chinese Embassy said in a statement released hours after the latest US declaration.

The Chinese Embassy also pointed out that the US is not directly involved in the South China Sea dispute but has kept on interfering on the matter.

"Under the pretext of preserving stability, it is flexing muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region. Under the pretext of endorsing rules, it is using UNCLOS to attack China while refusing to ratify the Convention itself," the embassy said.

Beijing further claimed that Washington was "recklessly infringing" on other nations' territorial sea and airspace through its freedom of navigation and overflight operations.

"We advise the US side to earnestly honor its commitment of not taking sides on the issue of territorial sovereignty, respect regional countries’ efforts for a peaceful and stable South China Sea and stop its attempts to disrupt and sabotage regional peace and stability," the Chinese Embassy said.

The Chinese insisted that the situation in the South China Sea remains peaceful and stable as Beijing and ASEAN countries are working on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The US, meanwhile, assured its Southeast Asian allies and partners that it remains committed in protecting their sovereign rights in the South China Sea.

"The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire," Pompeo said. This statement came to mark the fourth the anniversary of the landmark ruling, which sided with the Philippines.

In his statement, Pompeo stressed that China cannot assert maritime claim over Scarborough or Panatag Shoal and the Spratly Islands, which the arbitral tribunal found to be in Philippine exclusive economic zone or its continental shelf.

Citing the tribunal award, the US State secretary also pointed out that China has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal, which are both within Philippine jurisdiction. Mischief Reef is one of Beijing's three artificial islands in the Spratlys.

"Beijing’s harassment of Philippine fisheries and offshore energy development within those areas is unlawful, as are any unilateral PRC actions to exploit those resources," Pompeo said.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 28, 2023 - 12:01pm

The United States Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear powered supercarrier USS John C. Stennis continues underway in the South China Sea.

The US Pacific Command just reported that it has received "cargo" from support ship USNS Rainier in the disputed waters.

September 28, 2023 - 12:01pm

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources conducts an aerial maritime inspection over Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc on Thursday, according to a report of PTV.

PTV says BFAR is checking if the southeast portion of Bajo de Mansinloc remains free from illegal and hazardous floating barriers.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Coast removed the chains surrounding the entrance of Bajo de Masinloc installed by the China Coast Guard. — PTV

September 25, 2023 - 3:02pm

The National Security Council condemns the installation of the floating barriers of the China Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc, PTV reports on Monday.

“It ruled categorically that such action by the PRC violated the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen in the shoal who have been fishing there for centuries," NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya says.

"Any State that prevents them from doing artisanal fishing there violates UNCLOS and international law, in general,” he adds.

September 22, 2023 - 2:33pm

PTV reports that BRP Antonio Luna of the Philippine Navy and HMCS Ottawa of the Royal Canadian Navy conducted a joint sail in the West Philippine Sea on Sept. 21.

“The joint sail is part of the Philippine Navy's regular engagements with its partners in the Philippines' maritime zones. Bravo Zulu to all the personnel of both ships and those who planned this activity," Ltc Enrico Gil Ileto, Public Affairs AFP chief says.


July 21, 2023 - 3:49pm

Ahead of the second State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcis Jr, the descendants of the Bai sa Condor and  Anta sa Tebouk, on behalf of the Iranun in the Philippines composed of 16 sultans, formally declares ownership of the  Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoals as patrimony from their ancestors. 

The declaration of ownership is led by Sultan Tomas Reyes Cabili, Jr. as part of the advocacy of the Tomas Ll. Cabili  Foundation (TLC Foundation).

"TLC Foundation is doing this for our country’s sake as a whole on our claim for what is ours. Not just for our Muslim brothers and the Moro Origins of Mindanao (IRANUN), BUT for all the Filipinos - and the next generations to come. All the Philippines’ descendants of the Iranunis unfurling the historical dimension of the Spratlys and the ScarboroughShoals to strengthen the Philippines' claim on them and complement the theoretical frameworks already presented in the United Nations," Cabili says.

July 5, 2023 - 10:47am

Raymond Powell, project lead at the Gordion Knot Center for National Security Innovation, tweets that China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels "maneuvered dangerously close" to two Philippine Coast Guard ships on a resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea last week.

In a tweet, Powell identifies the ships as BRP Malabrigo and BRP Malapascua. He says these were escorting a small-boat resupply mission to the Philippines' outpost aboard BRP Sierra Madre and were met by an armada of CCG and militia ships, as well as a possible navy vessel.

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