China urges Philippines to stop South China Sea allegations


China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. - Xinhua

BEIJING (Xinhua): China urges the Philippines to stop baseless allegations on the South China Sea issue, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday (April 5).

It was reported that Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged the Chinese vessels that are still around the Niu'e Reef to leave early.

Philippine Foreign Ministry also said that, based on the South China Sea arbitration and so-called award, the Philippines denies that the Niu'e Reef and its adjacent waters are traditional fishing grounds for Chinese fishermen.

In response, spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Niu'e Reef is part of China's Nansha Islands and provides shelter from the wind for Chinese fishing boats traditionally. So it is normal for Chinese fishing ships to shelter near the reef from rough sea conditions.

He noted that the award from the South China Sea Arbitration Tribunal is illegal and invalid. He said China does not accept or recognise it and firmly opposes any claims and actions based on the award. China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea conform to international law.

He said the Philippines attempted to use an illegal and invalid ruling to deny this sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea. It violated the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

It is hoped that the Philippines will take an objective and correct view and immediately stop baseless allegations to avoid negative impacts on bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea, Zhao said.

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