China expresses ‘grave concern’ over PH's activities in WPS

By JOVILAND RITA, GMA Integrated News

China has issued a response to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s statement after he described Beijing's recent actions in the West Philippine Sea as "worrisome."

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Mao Ning maintained that it will keep on taking actions to protect its “territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.”

“China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear. We express grave concern over the Philippines’ recent activities in the South China Sea that infringe on China’s sovereignty and will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and keep the South China Sea peaceful and stable,” she said.

Marcos on Wednesday said that the presence of Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea and interference on the electronic communication capabilities of Philippine vessels are “worrisome.”

"It's worrisome because there are two elements to that: one is that the — dati Coast Guard lang ng China ang gumagalaw doon sa area natin. Ngayon, may Navy na sumama pa mga fishing boat," Marcos said.

(It's worrisome because there are two elements to that: one is that previously only China's Coast Guard was moving in our area. Now, also its Navy and fishing boats.)

"So, nagbabago ang sitwasyon, but – well, maliwanag naman para sa atin, we don't really – we just watch, of course, what everybody is doing, but really for us, patuloy pa rin natin, we just defend our maritime territory,'' he added. 

(So, the situation is changing. Well, it's clear for us. We just watch, of course, what everybody is doing, but really for us, we will continue. We just defend our maritime territory.)

To protect fishermen, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels started holding rotational deployment in Bajo de Masinloc this February.


Tensions between China and the Philippines increased recently as the two countries traded accusations such as alleged intrusion, shadowing, blocking, and performing dangerous maneuvers.

China claims most of the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Parts of the waters within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone have been renamed as West Philippine Sea.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in the Hague said China's claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected. 

In January, the Philippines and China sought to de-escalate tensions in the South China Sea.

Both sides agreed to improve an existing maritime communication mechanism to prevent incidents and miscalculations in the disputed waters. —VAL, GMA Integrated News