China slams US statement on collision with Philippine boat

Published October 24, 2023
This video grab taken on Monday shows a collision between a Chinese coast guard ship (right) and a Philippines boat during a resupply mission in the South China Sea. — AFP
This video grab taken on Monday shows a collision between a Chinese coast guard ship (right) and a Philippines boat during a resupply mission in the South China Sea. — AFP

BEIJING: China’s foreign ministry on Monday said a US statement in which Washington sided with the Philippines regarding a collision between vessels in the South China Sea “disregarded the facts”.

China and the Philippines traded accusations on Sunday over the collision in disputed waters of the South China Sea, as Chinese vessels blocked Philippine boats supplying forces there in the latest of a series of maritime confrontations.

In a statement on Sunday, the US State Department said China’s coast guard had “violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation”.

On Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters that the United States “issued a statement in violation of international law, groundlessly attacking and accusing China’s legitimate rights and law enforcement actions”.

Mao said the area of the Second Thomas Shoal has always been China’s territory.

“Renai Reef is an inseparable part of China’s Nansha Islands geographically, economically, politically and historically,” Mao said, referring to the names of the Second Thomas Shoal and the Spratly Islands by their Chinese names.

Maritime confrontations between Manila and Beijing have become a regular feature in the South China Sea, as both countries assert their territorial claims in the highly strategic waters.

Manila summoned Beijing’s ambassador and China lodged a complaint on Monday in a growing spat over two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the disputed South China Sea.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2023

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