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Lorenzana slams China for saying Philippines did 'illegal provocations' in West Philippine Sea

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana hit back at China for saying that the Philippines has been conducting "illegal provocations" in the West Philippine Sea. 

According to an Unang Balita report on Monday, Lorenzana claimed that it is the Chinese forces who practice illegal provocations in the resource-rich region, including its illegal occupation of areas within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. 

China earlier called on the Philippines to stop its illegal provocations in the West Philippine Sea. 

It made this remark after the Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest against China for its “continuing illicit issuances of radio challenges [against] Philippine aircraft conducting legitimate regular maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea.”

The diplomatic protest was also filed after members of the China Coast Guard allegedly confiscated fish aggregating devices installed by Filipino fishermen.

The Philippines then sent military planes over the air space of the Spratly Group of Islands, where most of the Philippine claims in the West Philippine Sea are located.

However, China saw this move as an intrusion on its security and sovereignty. 

In 2016, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands invalidated Beijing’s claims over the West Philippine Sea. 

China has since ignored this ruling and continued its activities in the region. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA News