According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said China would no longer interfere with the resupply missions for the military staying in Ayungin Shoal.
“The Chinese will not interfere per my conversation with the Chinese ambassador,” said Lorenzana.
Lorenzana said he and Huang have been in constant communication since November 16. After Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine boats that would bring supplies to Ayungin Shoal last Tuesday.
According to the military’s Western Command reports, the boats were on their way to deliver food supplies to Filipino soldiers in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal).
Locsin said no Filipino was hurt in the incident. After that, however, they had to abort their resupply mission.
As a result, the DFA chief said he has conveyed “in the strongest terms” to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian and his Chinese counterpart in Beijing the Philippines’ “outrage, condemnation, and protest of the incident.”
“I reminded China that a public vessel is covered by the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty,” he added.
China won’t interfere with resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal – Chinese ambassador
Ayungin Shoal is in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles (194 km; 121 mi) west of Palawan, Philippines. Claimed by several nations, the shoal is currently militarily occupied by the Philippines and is a Philippine Territory.
“We will see if they are true to their words as our Navy will proceed with the resupply this week,” Lorenzana said, referring to China.
In China’s defense, the Filipino boats “trespassed” into Chinese territory and that “Chinese coast guard vessels performed official duties under law and upheld China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order,” according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
However, Lorenzana insisted that the Chinese vessels that violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights as Ayungin is within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“Therefore, they have no right to impede, prevent or harass our ships within our EEZ, whether we are fishing or bringing supplies to our detachment in the Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal,” he said.