President Duterte condemned the recent confrontation between a Philippine ship and the Chinese Coast Guard in the South China Sea, saying it was not good for the relations between the two countries.
On Monday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte responded to the incident that broke out last week. Water cannons from the Chinese Coast Guard fired on Filipino ships at Renai Reef (called Ayungin Shoal in the Philippines). These ships are delivering supplies to the Marines stationed on the atolls; Beijing, which has sovereignty over the islands, said that these ships have not requested permission to enter.
“We hate the recent incident in Ayungin Shoal and are seriously concerned about other similar developments,” Duterte said at a meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China.
“This does not describe the relationship between our countries and our partnership very well,” The outspoken leader added.
The president, who will step down in 2022, tried to improve relations with China’s neighbors during his tenure. However, Beijing’s claims on large areas of the South China Sea, including islands and atolls near the Philippines, continue to challenge diplomatic relations. Beijing’s tough attitude has also led to growing anti-Chinese sentiment among Filipinos.
Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Manila to stop military exercises near Zhongye Island and Huangyan Island, accusing the Philippines of “Complicated the situation and escalated disputes.”
Renai Reef is only 105 nautical miles (195 kilometers) from Palawan Province in the Philippines and is located in the country’s exclusive economic zone. The atoll is also within China’s “nine-dash line”-a unilaterally defined territorial claim claiming that China owns more than 90% of the South China Sea.
Beijing rejected the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which rejected its claims in the South China Sea, which was based on historical practice. Ren’ai Reef is about 650 nautical miles (1,200 kilometers) from Hainan Province in southern China.
The Asia Regional Summit was hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. He told other leaders that Beijing will “Don’t seek hegemony, let alone bully the small.”
China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Brunei have put forward multiple overlapping propositions on the South China Sea, which is rich in potential resources and strategically important waterways.
On Friday, the United States warned China that attacks on Philippine public ships would prompt the United States to respond in accordance with its treaty obligations.
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