China warns Philippines after civilian ship mission to West PH Sea

China has ​issued a warning that the Philippines will bear the consequences ​for the flotilla of civilian ships ​that sailed over ​Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal ​in a bid to assert the country’s territorial sovereignty over it.

Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry,​ said any abuse to China’s goodwill​ to allow Filipino fishing boats in the West Philippine Sea will be met by Beijing's response.

​"China made a goodwill arrangement in 2016 for Filipino fishermen to fish with a small number of small fishing boats in the adjacent waters of Huangyan Dao, while China continues to oversee and monitor relevant activities of the Filipino fishermen in accordance with law​," Wang said in a press conference.

​"If the Philippines abuses China’s goodwill and infringes upon China’s territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction, we will defend our rights and take countermeasures in accordance with the law​," he added.

On Wednesday, five wooden-hulled commercial fishing ships​ and some 100 fishing boats​ set sail towards Bajo de Masinloc, a feature within the West Philippine Sea, which is expected to conclude within three days.

Their mission did not go smoothly as at least two China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels t​were spotted tailing the convoy​ of the ships.

China maintained that the West Philippine Sea is part of their territory, which includes Bajo de Masinloc. It is "indisputable," Wang said.

And if the Philippines will act against it, Wang said, "relevant responsibilities and consequences shall be borne solely by the Philippines.​"