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Friday, July 19, 2024

China claims on reported Ayungin Shoal incident ‘deceptive, misleading’ – AFP

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday it will not dignify the deceptive and misleading claims of China concerning the latest incident near Ayungin Shoal involving the vessels of Manila and Beijing.

“The AFP will not discuss operational details on the legal humanitarian rotation and resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal, which is well within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone),” AFP Public Affairs Office chief Colonel Xerxes Trinidad told reporters.

“We will not dignify the deceptive and misleading claims of the China Coast Guard (CCG). The main issue remains to be the illegal presence and actions of Chinese vessels within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, which infringes on our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he added.

Trinidad maintained that “the continued aggressive actions of the CCG are escalating tensions in the region.”

The issue stemmed from a report released by Beijing that one of the replenishment vessels of the Philippine Navy entered the waters of Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal), which allegedly led to a collision at sea.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also refused to comment on the issue because it is not involved in the operation.

“As far as the PCG is concerned, we are not in a position to provide any details on this issue,” PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Jay Tarriela said in a statement.

Beijing’s coast guard said in a statement Monday that a “Philippine replenishment ship ignored many solemn warnings from the Chinese side.”

Beijing claims almost the entirety of the South China Sea, brushing aside competing claims from several Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines and an international ruling that its stance has no legal basis.

China deploys coast guard and other boats to patrol the waters and has turned several reefs into militarised artificial islands. Chinese and Philippine vessels have had a series of confrontations in disputed areas.

On Saturday, new Chinese coast guard rules took effect under which it can detain foreigners for alleged trespassing in the disputed sea. – With Rex Espiritu and Agence France Presse

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