The Philippines protested against China’s “dangerous maneuver” against its Coastguards who patrolled and trained near a bank in the South China Sea last month as senior Manila diplomat issued sworn remarks towards Beijing.
The Chinese Coast Guard monitored, blocked and issued radio challenges to the Manila crew near Scarborough Shoal, the Philippine Foreign Ministry said on Monday in a statement announcing it had protested China’s actions. . China’s claim on the bench which is 124 nautical miles from the Philippines “is baseless” and Beijing has “no law enforcement rights in these areas,” he said.
The Philippine Foreign Ministry said it had also protested against the “relentless, illegal, prolonged and growing presence” of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militias in its economic zones.
Manila’s latest remarks signal a further deepening of tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea. The Philippines have sent more ships and held exercises in disputed waters, even as President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not confront China. Beijing said the presence of its ships in the area was normal and legitimate.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin released a strongly worded statement on Twitter on Monday, calling on China to step out of contested waters. His agency made the same call for the withdrawal of Chinese ships around the Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan island group in the Spratly Islands in its May 3 statement.
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Scarborough Shoal is within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, its government said, while it is about 472 nautical miles from China’s nearest coast.
Duterte is in favor of negotiations with China and will continue his “cautious, calculated and calibrated” policy in the face of the maritime conflict, spokesman Harry Roque said in a briefing Monday. Hard line The answers won’t solve anything and could lead to war, Roque said.
The Philippines will continue to patrol the South China Sea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a separate statement on Sunday. “The government will not waver in its position. We will not be leaving, ”he said.
– With the help of Ditas B Lopez
(Adds the statements of the senior diplomat, spokesperson for the president throughout)