• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 6:27am
NewsAsia
TERRITORIAL DISPUTE

China rejects US accusations of provoking the Philippines in maritime dispute

Washington supports the Philippines over its dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 11:16pm

The United States has criticised Beijing for being provocative after a Chinese coastguard tried to block a Philippine vessel on Saturday that was rotating troops on a islet among the Spratlys archipelago in the tense South China Sea.

In response Chinese state media on Tuesday accused the Philippines of violating morality and international law by seeking United Nations arbitration in the dispute.

The attempted Chinese blockade, which led to a two-hour stand-off with the Philippine ship, is “a provocative and destabilising action,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

Harf said that the Philippines had permission to resupply troops to the remote reef, the Second Thomas Shoal, because it has kept a naval presence there since before a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea.

“As a treaty ally of the Republic of the Philippines, the United States urges China to refrain from further provocative behaviour by allowing the Philippines to continue to maintain its presence at Second Thomas Shoal,” she said.

The incident was the latest in the South China Sea, where China claims a vast area that overlaps with several neighbours’ claims.

On March 9, China successfully turned away a similar resupply boat from the Philippines.

Manila on Sunday asked a UN tribunal to rule on Beijing’s claims over most of the strategically significant sea, submitting nearly 4,000 pages of evidence to back its case.

It argues that the Chinese stance is illegal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and interferes with the Philippines’ sovereign rights to its continental shelf.

Both countries are signatories to UNCLOS, but Beijing argues that its provisions do not apply to the row.

In a commentary the People’s Daily, the Communist Party official mouthpiece, denounced Manila’s move.

“The Philippines attempted to solicit international sympathy through disguising itself as a small and weak country.”
People's Daily

“The act of the Philippine side is against the international law and the historical truth as well as against morality and basic rules of international relations,” it said.

Manila had “provoked China” by going to “so-called international arbitration, a move that is both illegal and unreasonable” and “an act lacking credibility”, it said.

The commentary was reported in English by the official news agency Xinhua, often an indication that authorities want it to reach a wider audience.

China – which is vastly more powerful than any of the several countries it has disputes with in the strategically significant waters – prefers to negotiate with them individually, rather than in international forums.

“The Philippines attempted to solicit international sympathy through disguising itself as a small and weak country,” the commentary said.

Manila was attempting “to legalise its invasion of Chinese islands through the arbitration”, it added.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed on Monday to press ahead with the legal appeal.

“We are not here to challenge China, to provoke them into any action, but I do believe that they should recognise we also have the right to defend our own interests,” he told reporters.

The United States has been warning China against taking more drastic action in the South China Sea after it declared an air defence identification zone in November over much of the East China Sea, including islands administered by Japan.

 

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34

This article is now closed to comments

I Gandhi
The Philippines ram an old ship up the Second Thomas Shoal which is a reef is unforgivable. Polluting the environment. Worse still it is invading and occupying China's territory. Instead of supporting the Philippines in international lawlessness, the US should be condemning the Philippines for international lawlessness. The Philippines is a notoriously lawless country where the strong exploit the weak. Kidnappings, prostitution, human traf**** and all sorts of crime like murdering of journalists by clans belong to some governors are common. In such a situation hundred of thousands of Filipinos have to go abroad to places like HK to make a living even as maids or prostitutes. Mindanao the Muslims were oppressed by the Philippines government for decades and have to fight an insurgency until the hapless and useless Philippines military could not continue fighting the Muslims anymore despite being armed to the teeth by the US. Hopefully the Philippines government don't break the treaty it just signed with the MILF and restart the war on Muslims again. The Philippines government should do more to improve the abysmal human rights conditions in the Philippines instead of invading and occupying China's territory. The US should respect international law instead of breeding war criminals like George Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld etc.
m2leung
When the State Department issues a statement, their position is not supported by international law or legitimacy. It is just their principle that they can police the world and suppress non-Western influence, whether it is in the South China Sea or Ukraine.
lucifer
I can't wait to see a $.5 million Exocet send a $3billion carrier to the bottom of the sea
jiawang@adb.org
The Obama Administration has not changed its hawkish designs against China.
While the US attempts to disrupt ties between China and Russia,
it encourages the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and others to unite against China.
richard.barnes.528
China's claim on this Island is what is truly unfounded. They had lost all Island possessions to Japan and would be speaking Japanese today had the US not defeated the Japanese Empire in WWII. The maps as far back as 1898 after the Spanish American war show US ownership. The maps prior to 1898 and going back as far as 1521 show Spanish ownership of these Islands. China did not claim otherwise in those times. Why does China want this land now? Oil.
elwa8
How is the use of force ever a reasonable way to resolve a dispute? It certainly is not the resolution being offered by the Philippines or the United States, even in the face of China's threat of force. The rule of law should guide us, not the principle of might makes right.
Why is China so concerned about allowing an international body to resolve its disputes with smaller, less militant neighbors?
Why is it so eager to have people appear to agree with it that it pollutes the comments of almost every publication with its ineffectual propaganda
I must wonder whether those who comment here paid by the Chinese government or products of an increasingly jingoistic Hong Kong educational system?
q.fiver
Re-supplying and building structures signifies attempt to establish permanent foothold, thus replacing the wreckage with permanent presence and changing the status quo. China will not allow that to happen. The Philippines’ recent stupid move is in effect begging China to give it a deadline to get rid of the junk ship.
justice_first
The main aim of the US is to curb China's influence all around China. China's aim is to settle all the territorial disputes with its neighbors by negotiation, but the US does not allow China to do so. The struggle between the US and China has begun and will continue for the rest of this century, between an existing super power and a rising super power. China sees this as a great challenge and proposes a special relationship with the US to avoid deadly and vicious confrontation. Similarly this kind of power struggle is happening in Europe between the US and Russia.
The US will only push China into a closer pack with Russia to limit US power and influence. Japan and the Philippines are pawns in this great chess game. The EU, because of its diversities, will be unlikely to become a great power like the US and China.
At the end of the game, who will be the winner, and who will be the loser? I wonder.
hongkiejj@malaysiaboleh
@ i Gandhi
Nah.. I would not waste too much time with this dude ... Look ....he is dressed like a sith.. Obsessed with dark powers and probably watch too much empire strikes back movie ... Darth Vader is his idol and named after a satan ... Just another wacko character ... Obviously he need to get a life ..
martin.megino@scmp.com
You wouldn't think like that if you have loved ones murdered in tiananmen square and the 45 million murdered during the Great Leap Forward. Read your history if you're still ignorant of it.

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