Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian on Monday to condemn the reckless and illegal act of the Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said in a statement on Monday.
“Likewise, Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime FlorCruz has been instructed to convey the same to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Teodoro said in the statement.
Secretary Teodoro added that the Philippine Coast Guard has been directed to proceed swiftly with its maritime investigation in accordance with international maritime safety regulations as far as China’s latest aggression is concerned.
Teodoro said that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called for a special Command Conference of the national security and defense clusters on Monday morning to discuss the recent WPS incident and to give his guidance to maritime and security agencies.
The Philippine government views the latest aggression by China as a blatant violation of international law, he said, noting that China has no legal right or authority to conduct law enforcement operations in the Philippines’ territorial waters.
“We are taking this incident seriously at the highest level of government. The use by China of brute force behind disingenuous façades necessitates this course of action,” Teodoro said.
“We call on our people to stand behind the Government in executing our constitutional mandate to secure the national interest in the West Philippine Sea,” he added, noting further that the incident occurred within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines where China has no jurisdiction over, authority or right to conduct any operations.
The defense said it is a serious escalation of the illegal activities conducted by the Chinese government in the WPS and in complete disregard of any norm or convention of international law.
“We also acknowledge the support of our allies and like-minded nations such as the United States, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and European Union in condemning China’s aggression and expansionist actions,” he said of other countries’ backing.
Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels on Saturday harassed and intentionally hit Unaizah May 2 and PCG vessel BRP Cabra while conducting a legitimate rotation and re-supply (RORE) mission within the Philippine exclusive economic zone, which is a blatant violation of international law. | PND
Photo Courtesy of PCO