China demands; Philippines: NO!
China demands return of boats from the Philippines
China on Thursday demanded the Philippines return small Chinese boats promptly and unconditionally after a Philippine military vessel confronted a Chinese fishing vessel.
“China has presented its stance to the Philippines. We demand that the Philippines return the small Chinese boats unconditionally and as soon as possible, and properly handle related issues,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a daily press briefing.
On Tuesday, a Philippine military vessel entered the sea area neighboring the Liyue Tan, also known as the Reed Bank, of the Nansha archipelago in the South China Sea and tried to approach a Chinese fishing vessel towing 25 smaller, unoccupied boats, Jiang said.
The propeller of the Philippine vessel got tangled with the rope, disconnecting the Chinese fishing vessel from the 25 smaller boats.
“The Chinese fishermen and the fishing vessel are currently safe,” Jiang said.
She said China has undisputed sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and neighboring sea.
“It is completely justified for Chinese fishermen to fish in areas where generations of Chinese have fished,” Jiang said.
Jiang said the Philippines’ behavior impinged upon the legitimate rights of Chinese fishermen.
(Philippines) No apologies over ships’ collision
No apologies were necessary and none were given, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario stated yesterday on the wake of the reported “collision” between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Philippine Navy patrol boat within the vicinity of the Recto Bank in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) last Wednesday.
Recto Bank is within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but is also among the islets in the hotly contested Spratlys Group, also being claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.
According to Del Rosario, the sequence of events that transpired before the patrol ship BRP Rizal, a PS-74, rammed the Chinese vessel clearly showed that it was an accident. “As I understand it, there was a Chinese fishing vessel towing 35 unmanned dinghies that strayed in our waters,” he said. (Roy C. Mabasa)
Philippines refuses to return Chinese boats
The Philippine government has refused to return the 25 Chinese vessels that were taken in the South China Sea (also known as the West Philippine Sea) and the case is to be resolved with the help of a third party, a local paper said.
“The disposition of the small boats will be in accordance with a legal process,” Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario told the Star.
China has urged the Philippine government to respect the recently concluded China-Vietnam Joint Statement, in which they agreed to work bilaterally to resolve their disputes over contested claims within the South China Sea.
The China-Vietnam agreement should be used as a model in resolving disputes in the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin told the Star, a hint that China does not want multilateral dialogue in resolving its disputes with the Philippines over contested claims in the South China Sea.
“The [agreement] demonstrates the resolve and will of the two parties, two countries and two peoples in enhancing friendly exchanges, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation, appropriately resolving disputes, forging ahead socialism and safeguarding regional and global peace, stability, cooperation and development,” Liu said.
The Philippines has opposed the China-Vietnam Joint Statement, which was signed during the state visit of the Vietnam Communist Party Central Committee General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to China on October 15.
The agreement has been seen by experts as a digression from the 2002 Code of Conduct signed by China and the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (Asean), that states disputes in the South China Sea should be handled multilaterally.
Despite China’s agreement to the 2002 Code of Conduct of claimants in the South China Sea, it has always insisted on bilateral dialogues between involved parties.