China firmly opposes US-Philippines statement for distorting and smearing nation’s legitimate maritime law enforcement activities: Chinese FM
Published: Apr 12, 2023 08:14 PM Updated: Apr 12, 2023 08:09 PM

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

China expresses serious concerns and strong dissatisfaction with the joint statement issued by the US and the Philippines for distorting and smearing China’s legitimate and lawful maritime law enforcement activities, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday in response to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks on the so-called intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea. 

China has noticed the “2+2” ministerial meeting of defense and foreign ministers held by the US and the Philippines on Tuesday and the joint statement it issued to call on China to abide by the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal’s decision, which is very biased against China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Wednesday. 

Blinken said the US will stand with the Philippines against any form of intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea during Wednesday’s joint media briefing of the “2+2” ministerial meeting following the largest-ever joint military exercises held by the two countries on Tuesday. Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the US-Philippines military cooperation must not interfere in the South China Sea disputes, not harm China’s territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests and security interests. 

According to Wang, the joint statement also mentioned that the two sides will promote the rapid deployment of new US military bases in the Philippines, with financial support from the US. 

Wang said that China noticed Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said “China's reaction was not surprising” in response to US’ strengthening of military deployment in the Philippines. 

China expresses serious concerns and strong dissatisfaction with the joint statement, Wang said, noting that China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. 

The so-called arbitration ruling on the South China Sea is illegal and invalid, seriously violating international laws, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Wang said, stressing China’s clear and firm position that it does not accept or recognize it. 

China is willing to resolve maritime disputes through negotiation and consultation with relevant countries and will firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, Wang added. 

“There is a Chinese saying that ‘facts speak louder than words.’ The US’ intentions are self-evident from the locations of its new bases in the Philippines. The emphasis in the joint statement by the US and the Philippines on promoting rapid deployment in the new bases is like another annotation of their intentions, which does not require further interpretation or analysis by China,” Wang said. 

According to Wang, China has always advocated that the Asia-Pacific region should be a common home for all the regional countries. The key to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region lies in regional countries’ persistence in mutual trust, unity and cooperation and their firm grasp of the lifeline of their own security in their own hands. 

“China once again reminds relevant countries that blindly catering to external forces will not only fail to safeguard their own security, but also ratchet up regional tensions, harm regional peace and stability, and eventually backfire,” Wang said. 

Global Times