Spratly Dispute

The Philippines is sending a mission to China to discuss the alleged harassment by two Chinese naval vessels of a research ship of the Department of Energy (DOE) off the disputed Spratly islands.

The Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest against the harassment by the Chinese Navy boats. “They’ve not gotten back,” a source said when asked about Beijing’s response to the diplomatic protest.

According to Sun Yi, deputy chief of political section and spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Manila, the matter was immediately reported to Beijing but an explanation “takes time”.

China has called for peaceful negotiations to resolve disputes in the South China Sea in response to complaints by the Philippines that Chinese patrol boats had harassed a Filipino oil exploration vessel in a disputed area.

Sun insisted that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and the Spratly Islands.

“What I want to point out is that, ever since ancient times, China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters,” Sun said.

He stressed that China has been consistently sticking to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China forged a Code of Conduct on South China Sea to reduce tensions as well as peacefully resolve territorial claims and improve the general political climate in the region.

“The Chinese side maintains that the related disputes should be resolved through peaceful negotiations,” Sun said.

A source said the diplomatic protest was more on China’s “encroachment” into Philippine territory than on the supposed “harassment” by its navy boats.

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