The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has summoned a senior official from the Chinese Embassy in Manila to express its displeasure with the Chinese Coast Guard’s “harassment” of a Philippine vessel doing research in the West Philippine Sea.
The department also stated that it is evaluating facts on the new incident in the disputed waters in preparation for filing a diplomatic action.
DFA stated that the Philippine government “takes appropriate diplomatic action for violations of Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights within our maritime jurisdiction.”
“Illegal activities around Ayungin Shoal are subject of diplomatic protests in the exercise of the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal, which forms part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines affirmed by the 2016 Award on the SCS arbitration,” it noted.
The DFA made the statement after the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) in Washington reported that the Chinese Coast Guard and militia harassed Filipino vessels in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea three separate incidents over the last two months.
Chinese coast guard harassing Filipino vessels in WPS – DFA
“On the presence of foreign coast guard vessels around Reed Bank, in the vicinity of the Philippine approved activities around SC 75 and SC 72, as well in the vicinity of the approved joint Marine Scientific Research led by the UP NIGS, are not consistent with innocent passage and are clear violations of Philippine maritime jurisdiction where only the Philippine government has the mandate of enforcement,” DFA said.
“The detailed reports of these activities are being reviewed for the filing of appropriate diplomatic action,” it added.
DFA insisted only the PCG has “enforcement jurisdiction over these waters.”
“The presence of foreign vessels following tracks that are neither continuous nor expeditious, that are not consistent with Article 19 of UNCLOS on innocent passage, are against the interests of the Philippines,” it said.
“We assure the Filipino people that the role of the DFA on upholding Philippine interests and protecting and preserving national security and territorial integrity will remain firm,” DFA added.