A week after the Chinese and Philippine government agreed to settle diplomatically issues over disputed waters, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a new diplomatic protest against China over presence of vessels from the Asian giant near Pag-asa islands.
The DFA protested the “incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of maritime assets and fishing vessels in the vicinity of the Pag-asa islands.”
The protest that was filed on Friday also demanded the immediate withdrawal of Chinese vessels in the said area.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs lodged a diplomatic protest yesterday against the incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels in the vicinity of the Pag-asa islands, demanding that China withdraw these vessels,” the DFA said in a statement on Saturday.
The filing of the protest comes after the Philippine and Chinese governments recognized the importance of dialogue to ease tensions in the South China Sea during the resumption of its bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) meeting last May 21.
“There was mutual recognition of the importance of dialogue in easing tensions and understanding each country’s position and intentions in the area. Both sides acknowledged the importance of addressing differences in an atmosphere of openness and cordiality to pave the way for practical cooperation and initiatives,” a joint statement issued after the May 21 meeting stated.
The Philippines also reiterated its long-standing call for full respect and adherence to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its “authoritative interpretation and application – the final and binding 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award”.
The virtual meeting came a month after the Philippine government started firing off protests against Chinese presence within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as well as its annual fishing ban that encroaches on Philippine waters.