“Change of policy and position” of the PH reason for increasing tension in South China Sea – China Foreign Ministry
“Change of policy and position” of the PH reason for increasing tension in South China Sea – China Foreign Ministry
“Change of policy and position” of the PH reason for increasing tension in South China Sea – China Foreign Ministry
by Karen Ow-Yong27 December 2023
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning conducts the Ministry’s regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, 27 December 2023 (Photo courtesy of China Foreign Ministry)

MANILA – The Philippines’ “change of policy and position” contributed to the rising tensions in the South China Sea, according to the Foreign Ministry of China.

In her regular press briefing in Beijing, Spokesperson Mao Ning reiterated that the Philippines’ refusal to honour its commitment and its violation of international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea is adding to the already volatile situation in the contested waters.

This is China’s reaction to an earlier statement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against China when it said that it is not “provoking conflict” and is merely following international law and implementing the domestic law.

Mao added that “the responsibility lies with the Philippines” and that “China will resolutely protect its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.”


China is hopeful though that the Philippines will make the wise choice, which is to return to what it calls “the right track of properly handling disputes through dialogue and consultation”, and work with China to properly handle and manage the situation at sea.

Earlier, AFP Spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar, in an interview on state broadcaster PTV, stressed that the Philippines is not encroaching on Beijing’s territory, as China claims.

“The Philippines is not provoking conflict. We follow international law and we are only implementing our domestic law, meaning the limits of our territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, where we have sovereign rights,” Col. Aguilar said.

Recently, the relations between Manila and Beijing has been declining under the administration of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr after its pivot back towards the United States, which supports the country in its maritime disputes with China.


In a report by Reuters, it stated that succeeding events this year contributed to the “rift” between the Philippines and China, such as the granting of four military bases to the United States under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) last February; the joint military drills in the Philippines participated by more than 17,000 Filipino and U.S. soldiers last April, which is considered the largest contingent by both countries; the holding of the first trilateral exercises between the U.S., Japan and the Philippines’ coast guards in the South China Sea last June; and Marcos’ visit to the White House on May 1 as he discussed the U.S.’s “unwavering commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea” with President Joe Biden.

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