Two more countries expressed serious concern over the aggressive moves being conducted by Beijing, in particular to the recent incident involving the Chinese coast guard’s (CCG) use of military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ship near the Ayungin Shoal.
In separate statements in their respective social media accounts, Japan and Australia reminded China of the arbitral win by the Philippines in 2016.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that all states should observe maritime order, while likewise indicating the Philippines’ arbitral win over China in 2016 over the overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
“We express serious concerns about dangerous behavior against PH vessels,” he said.
“All states should respect maritime order based on international law, in particular UNCLOS, and recall that 2016 Arbitral Award is final and legally binding. We firmly oppose any action that increase tensions,” he added.
For Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu PSM, he dubbed the action of the CCG as “unsafe” and “intimidatory” wherein she also called for “peace, stability and respect” in South China Sea.
“Australia shares concerns about unsafe and intimidatory actions directed against the Philippines,” she said.
“We continue to call for peace, stability and respect for international law in the South China Sea, a vital international waterway.”
Under the UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to which both the Philippines and China are signatories, it stated that the 200 nautical miles off the territorial sea of a country is its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
It will be recalled that in July 2016, 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.
Likewise, the arbitration court 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.
But after the loss and not favoring them, Beijing just flat out rejected the ruling and refused to acknowledge the arbitral court’s ruling claiming it is part of a propaganda by the United States.
The PCG Said that February 6, a CCG vessel pointed a military-grade laser against their vessel that was simply performing a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal. The PCG said the laser caused temporary blindness to the crew.
China’s Foreign Ministry accused the Philippine ship of intrusion off Ren’ai Reef, which is what it calls Ayungin Shoal, without permission.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) filed a diplomatic protest against China over the laser-pointing incident.
CurrentPH News Service