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Philippines summons Chinese ambassador over vessels in disputed waters

GlobalApr 13, 2021 17:20
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© Reuters.

MANILA, April 13 (Reuters) - The Philippines said on Tuesday
it had summoned the Chinese ambassador to convey the Southeast
Asian country's "utmost displeasure" over the continued presence
of Chinese vessels in disputed waters around a reef in the South
China Sea.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said
Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian was summoned on Monday and told
that China should immediately withdraw all its vessels from the
disputed Whitsun reef and other Philippine maritime zones.
The Philippines last month described the presence of about
220 boats believed to be manned by militias inside its 200 mile
(322 km) exclusive economic zone as "swarming and threatening",
while the United States, Japan and others have voiced concern
about China's intentions, prompting rebukes by Beijing.
The foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had reminded Huang
that the Philippines had won a landmark arbitration case in
2016, which backed its sovereign entitlements amid rival claims
by China.
It also called on the Chinese Embassy to ensure "proper
decorum and manners in the conduct of their duties as guests of
the Philippines" after the embassy had earlier said a call by
Manila for a withdrawal of the flotilla was "unprofessional".
"Both sides affirmed the use of peaceful settlement of
disputes in addressing their differences in the South China Sea
issue," the foreign ministry said.
China's embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Chinese diplomats have previously said the vessels were
taking shelter from rough sees and were not manned by militias,
claims the foreign ministry called "blatant falsehoods."
The last time a Chinese envoy was summoned by Manila was in
2019 after a Chinese vessel sunk a Philippine boat.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on
Tuesday on Twitter that nine ships remained in the area.
Since come to power, President Rodrigo Duterte has
criticised U.S. foreign policy and sought to improve ties with
Beijing, but China's maritime assertiveness has put him in a
difficult spot at times.
Philippine and U.S. troops began military exercises on
Monday, in a demonstration of what they said was a commitment to
the U.S.-Philippines alliance.

Philippines summons Chinese ambassador over vessels in disputed waters
 

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