Malaysia, Philippines Bemoan Chinese Presence in Disputed Sea
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia and the Philippines on Wednesday decried continued incursions by Chinese vessels in areas of the South China Sea they claim as their own in yet another sign of continuing tensions in the disputed waters.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said it protested provocative actions by Chinese government vessels that used “the unlawful issuance of over 200 radio challenges, sounding of sirens, and blowing of horns” against Philippine authorities that were “conducting legitimate, customary and routine patrols.”
“These provocative acts threaten the peace, good order, and security of the South China Sea and run contrary to China’s obligations under international law,” the agency said on its official Twitter account.
Tensions between the two nations over the disputed sea have escalated over the past months with the Philippines repeatedly protesting the presence of Chinese ships in the area. Manila has been backed by the U.S., while Beijing has said its actions were normal and legitimate.
Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah warned separately on Wednesday during an event that his country could see more Chinese ships in its maritime territory so long as state-owned Petronas continues developing the Kasawari gas field located within its exclusive economic zone off the coast of Sarawak.
Malaysia earlier this month summoned the Chinese ambassador for the second time this year to protest the presence of ships in its territorial waters. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob previously warned there were be no compromises if there’s a threat in South China Sea.
“I have lost count the number of protest notes we have sent to China,” Saifuddin said. “We will be steadfast and continue to respond diplomatically to them.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its position at a regular news briefing in Beijing Thursday.
“China’s position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear, and our maritime law enforcement departments has followed the UNCLOS and other international law to have operations that defend our rights,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said. “That is legitimate and justified.”
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