Philippines Rejects China’s Claim on Ship Transfer in LCS

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

Filipina reject the claim China to remove long-stranded wrecks at the Second Thomas Shoal, South China Sea.

“The ship has been at the site since 1999. If there is a commitment to move it, it will be done a long time ago,” Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was quoted as saying. Reuters.

The statement came as the Philippines’ response to China’s request that Manila had committed to removing the wreck of the BRP Sierra Madre, which had been moored at the Second Thomas Shoal since 1999.

The BRP Sierra Madre was a 100-meter long tank ship belonging to the United States Navy that was used during World War II.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing demanded the Philippines honor its commitments and remove the abandoned illegal ship.

“(We) demand that the Philippines respect its commitment and remove illegally parked vessels,” Lijian said, Wednesday (11/24).

Second Thomas Shoal is 195 kilometers from Palawan, Philippines. The area is subject to a dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea.

China continues to insist on claiming large swathes of territory in the South China Sea with its historical claims

However, in 2016, the International Court of Arbitration approved the Philippines’ claim and asserted that China’s claims to the South China Sea were illegitimate and had no clear legal basis.

Even so, China persists and continues to carry out provocative activities ranging from building reclaimed islands, deploying military installations, to deploying ships to the South China Sea which overlaps with the waters of other countries.

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Meanwhile, Second Thomas Shoal is included in the 200 nautical miles (321 kilometers) of the Philippine Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ), under the United Nations International Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

China was also one of the countries that signed this agreement.

“We have two documents that prove that we have sovereign rights in our EEZ, while they (China) do not, and their claims are baseless,” Lorenzana said.

He then stressed, “China must comply with its international obligations, which are theirs.”

Tensions between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea dispute continue to rise. A few days ago, Chinese patrol boats blockaded and fired water cannons at Filipino ships.

The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is even irritated by China’s actions. According to him, this does not reflect the relationship between the nations and good cooperation.

“We hate the recent events at Ayungin Shoal and are concerned about other similar developments,” Duterte said at a special ASEAN-China meeting on Monday.

The dispute has not subsided, the Philippines was made angry again because the Chinese coast guard took pictures, recording Manila’s troops as they unloaded logistics in the South China Sea.

Lorenzana accused China of barging in when its coast guard interfered with a Philippine ship’s mission to supply logistics to their troops.

It also assessed the action as a form of violence and harassment against their team.

(isa/rds/bac)

[Gambas:Video CNN]


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