Beijing is trying it’s best to turn its tables around against the Philippines, as they came to the defense of the actions made by their Coast Guard, that pointed a laser light at a Philippine vessel near Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
China, during a briefing with media, even accused the Manila of intruding into Chinese territory.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin the Philippine Coast Guard vessel “intruded into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef without Chinese permission.”
The Asian powerhouse reiterated that Ren’ai Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands or what is more popularly known in the Philippines as Spratly Islands.
Earlier, the PCG said that the incident occurred last February 6 near Ayungin Shoal.
The PCG said the CCG pointed a “military-grade” laser light at one of its vessels that was supporting the Philippine Navy rotation and resupply mission.
According to wang, the Philippines violated domestic law and international law.
He added that the CCG simply upheld China’s sovereignty and maritime order as it acted on a “professional” and “restrained” way.
“We hope the Philippine side will respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea and avoid taking any actions that may exacerbate disputes and complicate the situation,” he said.
Both China and the Philippines are conducting a dialogue over the incident.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)earlier called on the Chinese government to control its forces.
“The Secretary of National Defense has already declared or said that the act committed by the Coast Guard of China is offensive and unsafe,” AFP spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar said.
“Therefore, I think it is time for the Chinese government to restrain its forces so that it does not commit any provocative act that will endanger [the] lives of people,” he added.
Under the UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to which the Philippines and China are both signatories, the 200 nautical miles off the territorial sea of a country is its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
During a July 2016 ruling, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, based on a case filed by the Philippines, junked China’s nine-dash line claim covering the entire South China Sea.
The arbitration court also ruled that Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank are all within the Philippines’ EEZ as provided by the UNCLOS and outlawed China’s action of preventing Filipino fishermen to access Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.