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Philippine envoy to China: Beijing assured Philippines it won't be a target of coast guard law
In this Jan. 14, 2020 photo, members of the China Coast Guard (CCG) stand in attention on the vessel CCG 5204 at Pier 15 in Manila.
Xinhua/Rouelle Umali

Philippine envoy to China: Beijing assured Philippines it won't be a target of coast guard law

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 16, 2021 - 8:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — China has given an assurance that it is not targeting the Philippines when it adopted a controversial law allowing the Chinese Coast Guard to fire on foreign vessels.

Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said Manila has objected to the law's language on the use of force and its possible application in areas that are beyond China’s territory.

"The Chinese have reassured us through their spokesman, the foreign ministry spokesman as well as the Chinese Embassy that...they are not targeting the Philippines or any specific country and that they will not resort to force in the first instance," Sta. Romana said at a press briefing Tuesday.

"I want to explain that through the objection, through the diplomatic note and through the diplomatic discussion, the Chinese have tried to reassure that they will still exercise restraint. This is what we are calling for, that all claimant countries resort to diplomacy and avoid the use of force," he added.

Under the law, the Chinese coast guard can "take all necessary measures" to prevent maritime incursions. It also allows the boarding and inspection of foreign ships in waters claimed by China and the destruction foreign structures on Beijing-claimed islands and reefs.

The Philippines, one of the five claimants disputing China's extensive claim in the South China Sea, has protested the law.

In 2016, a Hague-based arbitral tribunal voided China's wide-reaching maritime claim in the South China Sea but the Chinese government refused to recognize the ruling.

COAST GUARD LAW SOUTH CHINA SEA WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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