China’s main Communist Party newspaper warned neighboring nations, including the Philippines, against asserting their territorial claims in the South China Sea, the New York (NY) Times reported Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
NY Times said the Chinese newspaper issued the warning as a response to a news report that “the Philippines was building shelter for troops on one of the disputed Spratly Islands, which the Chinese call the Nansha Islands.”
The newspaper “People’s Daily” accused the Philippines of maneuvering “a little trick” by building the controversial shelter, shortly after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations called for restraint to avoid inflaming territorial disputes, according to the NY Times.DFA: PHL govt ready to defend stance
Meanwhile, the Philippine government said it is ready to defend its stance on the Spratlys dispute even though China accused Filipino authorities of lacking a sincere desire to resolve West Philippine Sea (also called South China Sea) territorial disputes.
“We maintained that what is ours is ours and are prepared to validate our position in accordance with international law, specifically UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea],” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
He insisted that the Philippines is committed to a rules-based regime and to a peaceful resolution to the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
The Spratlys — a group of islets in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits — are being claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.
People’s Daily commentary
The commentary on the People’s Daily Online titled “Some countries will pay for misjudging China’s sovereignty” said, “Manila obviously lacks the sincerity to peacefully address the South China Sea issue.”
The Chinese newspaper said the Philippines has been calling for a peaceful resolution to the Spratlys dispute.
However, the newspaper noted that “it was reported that constructing this building is aimed at enabling the Philippine military to guard the disputed waters to hide bad weather. This move has severely violated the ‘Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.’”
The commentary cited a news report on the Philippine Star website on July 31 that “the engineering brigade of the Philippine military is about to complete the construction of the second building on the Flat Island of the Nansha Islands, China’s sovereign land.”
“The basic consensus of China and ASEAN countries is that the urgent task of ensuring the stability of the South China Sea situation is to keep self-control and not to take actions that may make the dispute more complex and expansive and affect the world peace and stability,” the commentary said.
“The behavior of the Philippines is the invasion of China’s territory and also the destruction of the ASEAN position,” it added. — Jesse Edep and Veronica Pulumbarit, GMA News