Chinese Foreign Ministry appealed to some Philippine officials to stop “hyping up” and giving negative reactions to the situation in the West Philippine Sea despite the continued tension in the disputed waters.
“We hope certain Philippine officials can stop hyping up the issue and avoid producing a negative impact on bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in his press briefing on April 13.
Lijian was responding to a query about the Department of Foreign Affairs’ summoning the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines to express the Philippines dismay on the continued incursion of Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe Reef or Whitsun Reef.
Lijian said the China was prepared to resolve issues with the Philippines “through friendly consultations.”
“We stand ready to properly resolve the relevant dispute with the Philippines through friendly consultations and jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Lijian said.
He also quoted President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement that the Philippines would continue “to resolve the issue peacefully through diplomatic channels.”
To date, the Philippine government spotted at lease six Chinese navy warships and more than 200 Chinese maritime militia, Chinese warships and illegal poachers scattered in the West Philippine Sea.
The DFA has filed a diplomatic protest on the matter as it also launched daily protests on the continued presence of nine ships at the Julian Felipe Reef.