Philippines to China: Stop harassment in West Philippine Sea


West Philippine Sea. - INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): The Philippines appealed to China on Friday (Feb 17) to stop its harassment in the West Philippine Sea as it is undermining the peace and stability in the region.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza made the plea after the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) harassed the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) using a “military-grade” laser in the West Philippine Sea – which temporarily blinded the Filipino coast guards.

“We have no basis to doubt the report of our Philippine Coast Guard. But from the report, to harass, to shadow, to actually put in danger, not only the vessel, but the crew, and more important to actually target and point a military-grade laser – not just once, but twice – actually is not restrained in all accounts,” Daza said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

“We’re calling on China to cease and restrain from this action kasi hindi lang ho ito (because it is not only) damaging, it’s dangerous. It is also destabilising in terms of peace and stability in the region,” Daza further said.

China earlier claimed the CCG “acted in a professional and restrained way” during the latest incident in the West Philippine Sea. It also accused the Philippines of intruding into its territory.

Beijing also claimed that it did not direct the laser to the crew but instead used it “to measure the distance and speed of the Philippine vessel and signal directions to ensure navigation safety.”

It added that the laser “does not inflict damage on anything or anyone on the vessel.”

The Philippines nevertheless lodged a diplomatic protest over the incident.

In 2016, the Philippines won its case against China before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, which invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim that covers almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea and the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

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Philippines , China , sea , encroachment

   

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