China Warns Philippines in South China Sea Dispute

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 4:10 am (UTC-5)
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China is telling the Philippines to stop harming its rights and interests by complaining about Chinese activities in the South China Sea.

In a statement published on its foreign ministry website late Tuesday, spokesman Hong Lei said the Philippine government should stop publishing “irresponsible statements” that do not match the facts. He added that Chinese vessels were carrying out scientific studies in waters under Chinese jurisdiction and acting in line with the law.

Hong was responding to a Philippine statement Saturday complaining that Chinese vessels were hampering legitimate activities by Philippine fishermen.

Earlier Tuesday, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Beijing would “lose face” if it continued to act aggressively in disputed areas after Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said at a weekend security conference that China seeks peace and stability in the region.

The Philippines complained last week that Chinese ships had offloaded building materials and erected marker posts on reefs to the west of its island of Palawan, well within Manila's exclusive economic zone.

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a commentary article published Tuesday that the action “aggressively violated” a 2002 agreement between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors governing conduct in the South China Sea.

China is also engaged in a maritime dispute with Vietnam concerning waters near the Spratly islands, which are claimed in whole or part by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.