MANILA, Philippines – “Sheer subjective assumption.”
This was the response of the Chinese government on the alleged bullying of Philippine vessels in the disputed Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc).
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier said a Chinese fishery patrol ship “bullied” several Philippine vessels in the area on Saturday, April 28, and generated a two-meter wave to threaten them.
The DFA said Saturday a Chinese vessel sped past two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ships which created waves that battered them.
“China’s Yuzheng 310 [patrol ship] went on patrol in waters off the coast of Huangyan Island in the early morning of April 28 (Saturday) in accordance with the law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin was quoted by a report published by the state-run Xinhua News Agency on Sunday, April 29.
“The Philippine side’s allegation about the Chinese fishery patrol ship ‘bullying’ Philippine vessels is sheer subjective assumption,” Xinhua quoted Liu as saying.
The spokesperson also reiterated that the shoal, which they call “Huangyan Island,” is an “inherent part of China’s territory.”
“We hope that the Philippine side will stop creating incidents that make thing even more complicated,” Liu added.
China says no
Also on Sunday, China rejected the Philippine proposal for international mediation on the Scarborough issue. China reiterated that the shoal is an “integrative part” of their country, and the proposal “contravenes the fundamental principles of international relations.”
China claims all of the South China Sea as part of its territory, even waters close to the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
The Scarborough Shoal is only about 230 kilometers (140 miles) from the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, while the nearest Chinese landmass is Hainan province 1,200 kilometers to the northwest, according to naval maps.
The latest tensions began when Chinese maritime vessels blocked the Philippine navy from arresting the crews of eight fishing vessels which had entered the area.