DFA calls on China to respect PH rights over WPS

April 28, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 171 views

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday called on China to respect the rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) after a Chinese vessel nearly collided with a Philippine ship on April 23 in Ayungin Shoal.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said, “We again call on China to respect the Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea, as provided by UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), and refrain from actions that may cause an untoward incident.”

Daza noted that the Philippines has “the right to conduct maritime patrols” in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“First of all, I would like to emphasize that the Philippines has the legal right to carry out routine maritime patrols in our territorial waters and EEZ. The deployment of the BRP Malabrigo and BRP Malapascua in the West Philippine Sea from April 18 to 24 was one such mission.”

The China Coast Guard’s (CCG) “interference with this routine patrol mission was totally inconsistent with freedom of navigation, and a number of documented incidents also involved highly dangerous maneuvers that were contrary to standard navigational practices,” Daza said.

On April 23, in waters around Ayungin Shoal, CCG vessel No. 5201 came within 50 yards of the BRP Malapascua, blocking the latter’s path and exposing the Philippine vessels’ crew to “serious danger,” the statement read.

Similar maneuvers were documented on April 19, involving CCG 5201 and 4202 and the BRP Malapascua while the latter was en route to Ayungin Shoal.