China urges S.Korea to refrain from hyping up SCS issue
Published: Mar 12, 2024 07:00 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

The Chinese foreign ministry urged South Korea on Tuesday to make the right choice, refrain from following others to hype up the South China Sea issue, following South Korean foreign ministry's remarks regarding a recent incident during which Philippine vessels had trespassed into the waters off China's Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef), and a spokesperson from the ministry said exterritorial countries should not become troublemakers on the issue. 

In response to the "deep concerns" of South Korea over the incident between China and the Philippines, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, told a press conference on Tuesday that China has noted the relevant remarks made by the spokesperson of the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on which we express serious concern.

Regarding the incident of the Philippine vessels illegally trespassing on Ren'ai Jiao on March 5, Wang Wenbin said China is gravely concerned about the statement of the South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesperson. 

"I would like to stress once again that what caused the event is that the Philippine side went against its pledges and infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," the spokesperson said, noting that China took necessary management and control measures in accordance with the law. The maneuvers were professional, restraint, reasonable and lawful.

The responsibility for the incident lies entirely with the Philippines, the spokesperson stressed.

South Korea is not a party to the South China Sea issue. However, in recent years, it has changed its prudent and neutral position that it had adhered to for years, and alluded to or blamed China on the South China Sea issue on multiple occasions, Wang Wenbin said.

We once again urge the South Korea to make the right choice, refrain from following others to hype up the matter, and avoid adding unnecessary burden to the China-South Korea relations, the spokesperson said. 

Responding to question from foreign media that what countries can comment on issues in the South China Sea, Wang Wenbin said Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed last week that with joint efforts of China and the ASEAN countries, the South China Sea has remained peaceful and stable in a turbulent world. It is hard-won and should be treasured by all. One of the most important experience we have drawn is that we must adhere to two principles. First, differences should be properly managed and resolved through dialogue, consultation, or negotiation between states directly involved. Second, peace at the sea should be upheld by China and ASEAN countries working together. It is also the core essence of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed in 2002, the spokesperson said. 

I want to reiterate here that if certain countries truly want to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, they should respect the effort of China and relevant ASEAN countries to properly address disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from stirring up troubles in the region, Wang Wenbin noted. "In face of unwarranted provocation, we will respond with prompt and legitimate countermeasures. We also urge certain countries outside this region not to make provocations, pick sides, or stir up troubles and problems in the South China Sea."

Also on Tuesday, the Philippine foreign ministry said it had received some proposals from China, but it said they would not be considered as they were against its national interests, according to media reports. 

China has indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao (South China Sea islands). There's no territorial disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Proceeding from its bilateral relationship with the Philippines and peace and stability in the South China Sea, China has made proposals to the Philippines on managing the situation at sea and carrying out maritime cooperation, Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday. 

"Regrettably, the Philippines has not yet responded to most of the proposals and made frequent infringements and provocations at sea. Such moves seriously undermine the atmosphere of communication and cooperation between China and the Philippines," the spokesperson added. 

He also emphasized that China's position on the South China Sea issue is consistent. We stand ready to continue to work with the Philippines to properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation. At the same time, we will take resolute measures to firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, he said.