China’s official news agency on Friday likened the Philippines to a “crying baby” for seeking international support against island-building in disputed waters by Beijing, denouncing its efforts as “pathetic”.
The caustic commentary by the Xinhua news agency came two days after foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) voiced concern over Beijing’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea.
Manila — which has challenged China’s territorial claims at a UN tribunal — had urged the 10-country grouping to take a firmer stand against Beijing on the issue.
“Only one month after an arbitration farce, the Philippines is putting up another pathetic show in an attempt to lobby international sympathy and support in its territorial spat with China,” Xinhua wrote.
“Manila should be fully aware that acting like a crying baby and begging for compassion from the international community would never help justify its claims in the South China Sea dispute,” it said.
The dispute “should and could be properly handled only by the parties directly concerned”, it added.
China says it controls almost all of the South China Sea, a claim which conflicts with those of ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as non-member Taiwan.
Manila accused Beijing last year of reclamation work around isolated reefs in the Spratly islands, which could hold fortified positions or even airstrips.