MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday strongly protested China’s self-declared Nansha and Xisha districts in the South China Sea as well as the naming of features in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).
“The Philippine government strongly protests the establishment of the so-called districts of ‘Nansha’ and ‘Xisha’ under the supposed administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared ‘Sansha City’ announced on 18 April 2020, by the People’s Republic of China,” the DFA said in a statement.
Since 2012, Manila has protested China’s “unlawful establishment of Sansha City and the extent of its administrative jurisdiction.”
The creation of Sansha City alone violates Philippine territorial sovereignty over the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc, and “infringes” on its sovereign rights over the waters in the West Philippine Sea, the department said.
“It does not recognize Sansha, nor its constituent units, nor any subsequent acts emanating from them. The Philippines also objects to and does not recognize the Chinese names given to some features in the Kalayaan Island Group,” the DFA said.
Manila dismissed as “illegal” the designation of Kagitingan Reef within the KIG as administrative center for the so-called “Nansha district”.
“Kagitingan Reef is within the Kalayaan Island Group and is thus an integral part of Philippine territory,” it said.
Citing the arbitration award issued in 2016, the DFA said the Permanent Court of Arbitration already “addressed China’s excessive claims and illegal actions in the South China Sea.”
“The Philippines calls on China to adhere to international law, including the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea), as well as to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, specifically Paragraph 5 thereof, under which parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability,” it said.
The DFA statement came days after it formally lodged two diplomatic protests at the Chinese Embassy in Manila for said activities as well as the hostile act of a Chinese vessel against a Philippine Navy ship in February. (ia/PNA)