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China says US is not a party to South China Sea issue

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday flagged United States' support in protest against Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea, saying it might affect the "peace and stability" in the region.

"The United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue. Fanning flames and provoking confrontation in the region will only serve the selfish interests of individual country and undermine regional peace and stability," Chinese Embassy in Manila wrote in a tweet, reacting to the US Embassy's statement that 220 militia vessels off Juan Felipe Reef are a threat to regional peace and stability. 

The Chinese embassy also noted that China and Philippines, as independent nations, have the ability to sort out issues through bilateral channels.

"Both China and the Philippines are sovereign and independent countries. We have the will, wisdom and ability to properly handle relevant issues through bilateral channels," read the social media post.

The military said over 183 Chinese militia vessels remained moored at Juan Felipe Reef days after authorities  reported that around 220 ships were spotted at the disputed waters last March 7.

China denied that the vessels discovered in the region were "maritime militia," noting that the Chinese ships were only taking refuge near the reef due to rough sea conditions.

Over the weekend, the foreign affairs department filed a diplomatic protest against China over the militia vessels off the West Philippine Sea.  

Malacanang, meanwhile, appealed to let the Department of Foreign Affairs handle the issue as it is still addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 600,000 Filipinos.—Consuelo Marquez/LDF, GMA News