CHINA has defended the supposed bullying of a group of young Filipinos who went to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal on Independence Day by the Chinese Navy.
A wire report said 16 members of Kalayaan Atin Ito (Freedom This Is Ours) movement were “harassed” by Chinese coast guards when the former attempted to plant the Philippine flag and the United Nations flag to a rock.
“They chased us with their two speed boats and blocked our path, sprayed water on us,” the group’s coordinator Vera Joy Ban-eg was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.
In a news briefing in Beijing late Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang maintained that China has sovereign right in Panatag which the Chinese call Huangyan Island.
He said Filipinos should not to take any provocative action in Beijing’s supposed territory.
“As you know, we have repeatedly stated that Huangyan Dao is China’s inherent territory. We urge the Philippines to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and not take any provocative actions,” Lu said in a translated transcript issued by the ministry.
In a news briefing in Manila, Foreign Spokesman Charles Jose also insisted that Panatag belongs to the Philippines.
“We have sovereign rights and jurisdictions over those features,” he told reporters.
Manila, on the other hand, claims Panatag because it is within 200 nautical miles of the Philippines’ coastline under the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
Meanwhile, Lu said China looks forward to exchanging views with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) during the two-day ministers’ meeting in China’s Kunming province that started Monday.