China urges Philippines to halt ‘illegal provocations’ at sea

China urges Philippines to halt ‘illegal provocations’ at sea

Chinese boats fish at the disputed Scarborough Shoal April 5, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
Chinese boats fish at the disputed Scarborough Shoal April 5, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

China’s patrols in the South China Sea are “beyond reproach” and air patrols by the Philippines infringe on its sovereignty, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

Zhao, at a briefing on Friday, defended the China Coast Guard’s activities and urged the Philippines to “immediately stop” what he described as “illegal provocations”.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Thursday that it had filed a diplomatic protest to Beijing over the Chinese Coast Guard’s move to confiscate equipment used by Filipino fishermen in the disputed South China Sea. It also objected to Beijing’s radio challenges to aircraft conducting legitimate maritime patrols in the area.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on a case filed by Manila against Beijing, saying China’s historical claims over the South China Sea have no legal basis.


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