China seeks removal of BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal
China seeks removal of BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal
China seeks removal of BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal
by Mary Antalan08 August 2023
Photo Courtesy: US Naval Institute

China, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeks the removal of the military ship BRP Sierra Madre which it said to be "permanently" occupying Ren'ai Reef or Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila, Foreign Affairs Ministry said Ren'ai Jiao has always been a part of China's Nansha Qundao, as is clear from its historical context.

The Ministry claimed that in 1999, the Philippines sent BRP Sierra Madre and deliberately ran it aground, "attempting to change the status quo of Ren'ai Jiao illegally."

"We immediately made serious demarches to the Philippines, demanding the removal of the vessel. The Philippines promised several times to tow it away but has yet to act," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.


It added that the Philippines sought to overhaul and reinforce the military vessel in order to permanently occupy Ren'ai Jiao.

Beijing said on August 5 that "in disregard of China's repeated dissuasion and warning, the Philippines sent two vessels that intruded into the adjacent waters of Ren'ai Jiao and tried to deliver the construction materials for overhauling and reinforcing the grounded military vessel."

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, such acts breached China's sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.


On Sunday, the US Embassy in Manila stated that the recent harassment by the China Coast Guard (CCG) to Philippine vessels "directly threatened" regional peace and security.

But the China claimed that its Coast Guard only used water cannons to prevent the PCG vessels from “illegally” entering and doing “illegal activities” in the waters adjacent to Ren'ai Reef, or also known as Ayungin shoal.

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