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Now Reading: DRILLS | Philippines warns China to keep naval exercises within its area
DRILLS | Philippines warns China to keep naval exercises within its area
July 3, 2020 , 07:15 PM

By Manny Mogato, News5 editor-at-large

(July 3, 2020) — The Philippines warned China to keep its naval drills within its territory, raising concern over the week-long activities in the disputed South China Sea, the foreign secretary said on Friday.

Teodoro Locsin urged urge Beijing to adhere to the rule of law and their “commitments to international instruments such as the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea, particularly the exercise of self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability especially in this pandemic.”

“The Philippines views with interest and some concern reports regarding the Navigation Notice No. 00-69 released on the website of the Maritime Safety Administration on 27 June 2020 concerning the conduct of military exercises by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the South China Sea, particularly in waters off Paracel Islands from 1 to 5 July 2020,” Locsin said in a statement post on YouTube.

He was reacting to China’s notice banning ships and fishing boats from passing near the Paracels, which was also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan because of ongoing drills in the area.

He said he found nothing wrong in the drills as long as the naval exercises “stick to their coordinates” and “do not impinge on Philippine territory”.

“These exercises are taking place in waters off Xisha Islands —the Paracels — over which Vietnam claims sovereignty. Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory then China is forewarned that it will be met with the severest response, diplomatic and whatever else is appropriate,” Locsin said.

“We have previously protested the establishment of districts Xisha and Nansha under the administrative jurisdiction of Sansha City, noting that the creation of Sansha City is null and void ab initio for being devoid of basis in international law,” he added.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a strategic waterway where $3 trillion worth of seaborne goods pass every year.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have conflicting claims in the area believed to have huge deposits of energy resources.

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed alarm over the Chinese drills in the Paracels as it will heighten tension in the area.

Locsin said the Philippines has consistently protested violations of international legal obligations and commitments, and strongly condemned the conduct of such activities in areas of the South China Sea within the Philippine’ sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction — including waters off the Kalayaan Island Group and the Scarborough Shoal.”

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