Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks at the April 1 Regular Press Conference Regarding Philippine Comments on the South China Sea
2024-04-03 08:00

CCTV: The Philippine Department of National Defense in a March 29 statement said that China’s recent statements on the South China Sea show that the Chinese government only intimidates smaller countries. On March 30, the Philippine National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said that China is “in for a rude surprise” if it intimidates Filipinos with its increasingly aggressive behavior in Philippine waters. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao, has always been China’s territory. The scope of Philippine territory is defined by several international treaties. China’s Nansha Qundao lies beyond the limits of the Philippine territory. The Philippines tries to hide the fact that it has broken its promise to China, violated China’s sovereignty and kept provoking China. This is the only viable explanation for the Philippines’ string of false accusations against China.

The truth on the Ren’ai Jiao issue is that the Philippines went back on its words. It made a serious promise to tow away its illegally grounded warship, but 25 years on, the Philippine vessel is still there.

The Philippines breached the understanding between the two sides on properly handling the situation on Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines promised it will not reinforce the grounded warship and will inform China in advance of resupply plans. Out of humanitarian considerations, China made special provisional arrangements for Philippine vessels sending living necessities to the warship quite a few times. However, the Philippines refused to honor its promise and made attempts to send construction materials for large-scale repair and reinforcement of the warship in order to build permanent structures on Ren’ai Jiao.

The Philippines violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) jointly signed by China and ASEAN countries. Article 5 of the DOC stipulates that the Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features. Ren’ai Jiao is uninhabited. Parties should maintain its state of hosting zero personnel and facilities. Most recently, however, the Philippine military spokesperson openly vowed to build permanent structures on Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines has also repeatedly sent people to step on China’s Tiexian Jiao and other uninhabited islands and reefs that belong to China in the South China Sea, which seriously contravenes the principles of the DOC.

The Philippines, backed by external forces, has been going back on its words and making provocations. This is the real cause of the current tensions at sea. Nothing will hide the truth, and no one should turn black into white. The Philippines needs to immediately stop violating China’s sovereignty and its provocations, and return to observing the spirit of the DOC. China will not waver in its resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.