The Philippines also reiterated its demand for China to withdraw its maritime assets and cease its “environmentally destructive activities” in the area
MANILA: The Philippines on Wednesday denounced the “lingering presence” of Chinese militia vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef, which experts said could be a “prelude” to another occupation and construction of a military base in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
The government first protested against China’s move on March 21.
However, in a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) demanded that China “promptly withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity and adjacent waters in the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea.”
The government also reiterated its demand for China to withdraw its maritime assets and cease its “environmentally destructive activities” in the area.
The Philippines has been protesting against the illegal presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime assets in the areas.
“Julian Felipe Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group lies in the Philippines’ EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). We reiterate that the continued deployment, lingering presence and activities of Chinese vessels in Philippine maritime zones blatantly infringe on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction,” the statement said.
It added that China’s “continuing infringements” are “contrary” to its commitments under international law and the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.