China calls out PH’s ‘illegal provocations’ after diplomatic protest

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After the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China, the East Asian giant accused country of “illegal provocations” in contested waters in a strong public statement.

On Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs protested China’s issuance of radio challenges at aircraft conducting regular maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian in his statement said that the Philippines “infringes on China’s sovereignty and security” by sending military aircraft to patrol the Spratlys and reefs claimed by Beijing.

“China urges the Philippine side to immediately stop illegal provocations,” Zhao said.

Zhao also defended the Chinese Coast Guard’s confiscation of Filipino fishermen’s fish aggregating devices or payaos in Scarborough.

“It is beyond reproach for China Coast Guard to conduct law enforcement in Huangyan Dao waters as it is a lawful practice,” Zhao said, referring to Scarborough.

In April, Manila also lodged diplomatic protests over Beijing’s declaration of two new districts in what it calls Sansha City, which covered areas in the West Philippine Sea, and the pointing of a radar gun at the Philippine Navy’s BRP Conrado Yap.

On Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they are confident that the filing of diplomatic protest will not have any impact on the country’s relations with Beijing, including China’s vow to give priority to the Philippines once it develops a COVID-19 vaccine.

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