With its vessels swarming the West Philippine Sea and its coast guard forcibly taking rocket debris from the Philippine Navy, China has made an accusation that it is the United States that is attempting to “stir up” troubles between China and the Philippines.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Tuesday issued a statement, urging the US “to stop using the South China Sea issue to stir up troubles, sow discord between China and the Philippines and undermine stability in the South China Sea.”
This came after US State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed the Western giant’s support for the Philippines in its call on China to respect international law following the two latest incidents in the West Philippine Sea, which raised the concern of several Philippine government officials.
China, through the embassy, also alleged that Price’s statement “contains unfounded accusations against China” that aims to drive a wedge between the two Asian countries, although it is not yet clarified which part is it.
“We strongly deplore and firmly oppose this,” the embassy said in a 286-word statement.
China also said that all parties having claims in the South China Sea have maintained “overall stability” and argued that “it is only natural for neighbors to have differences.”
In fact, it added, China and the Philippines “share the Asian wisdom of settling differences through dialogue and consultation” under the guidance of their state leaders.
China, in the statement, then alleged that “the US keeps meddling in the South China Sea disputes and trying to drive wedges between countries in the region, creating tensions and harming regional peace and stability.”
“What the US has done is not to help anyone but to serve its own geopolitical interests,” it also said.
The embassy maintained that China’s stand on the disputed water “is consistent and clear-cut” and that the peoples of China and the Philippines “have the will and capability to properly handle maritime disputes through friendly consultation.”
On December 19 (US time), Price said the US backs the Philippines in its call for China to “respect international law” through abiding by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) “and its legal obligations pursuant to the 2016 arbitral ruling.”
Price said the swarming of the Chinese vessels ”interfere[s] with the livelihoods of Philippine fishing communities, and also reflect continuing disregard for other South China Sea claimants and states lawfully operating in the region.”
”Furthermore, we share the Philippines’ concerns regarding the unsafe encounter that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) Coast Guard initiated with Philippines naval forces in the South China Sea, as documented before the Senate of the Philippines on December 14,” he added.
China earlier denied that it forcibly took the debris and said that it instead had a “friendly consultation” with the Philippine Navy. But a video played in the Senate in one of its sessions proved otherwise. China did not issue any comments on those incidents until the US spoke up.