mandag 5. april 2021

Philippine defense chief in verbal tussle with China on reef

An annoyed Philippine defense chief renewed a demand on Saturday for dozens of Chinese vessels to leave a Manila-claimed reef in the South China Sea, and said he would not be fooled by Chinese assertions that the vessels were taking shelter from bad weather. The Chinese Embassy shot back at what it called a “perplexing statement” by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and insisted that the vessels had the right to take shelter in what it said was Chinese territory. “Nobody has the right to make wanton remarks on such activities,” it said.

The unusually hostile public exchange stemmed from the sighting early last month by the Philippine coast guard of more than 200 Chinese vessels, which Lorenzana called “militias,” at the Whitsun Reef. The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest, saying the reef, which it calls Julian Felipe, lies within an internationally recognized offshore zone, where it has the exclusive right to exploit fisheries, oil, gas and other resources.