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China: US Sent Military Planes, Warships Near Ayungin Shoal

THE Chinese Embassy in Manila said the United States deployed military planes and warships in the West Philippine Sea on August 5, when Chinese Coast Guard fired water cannons at two Philippine wooden-hulled vessels and Philippine Coast Guard ships were on their way to Ayungin Shoal.

Chinese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Zhou Zhiyong disclosed this in a speech during a news forum at Kamuning Pandesal Bakery in Quezon City.

Zhou echoed Beijing’s attacks on Washington, D.C., and cited the latter’s “unglorified role” in the water cannoning incident near Ayungin Shoal, which it calls Ren’ai Reef.

“In the recent incident, the US took a hands-on approach to deeply engage in the whole process.

“It was the US who egged on and supported the Philippines to overhaul and reinforce the ‘grounded’ ship in Ren’ai Reef and even dispatched military aircraft and vessels in support of the Philippine side,” the Chinese diplomat said.

US Embassy’s comment

BusinessMirror asked the US Embassy in Manila to confirm if the US armed forces were in the vicinity near Ayungin Shoal during the incident.

“I’m not going to comment on military operations, except to say that all of our military activities in the Philippines are conducted in full coordination with our Philippine Allies,” Kanishka Gangopadhyay, US Embassy spokesperson, said in a text reply.

The Chinese Embassy noted that the US State Department and Defense Department issued separate statements “in tandem” with the Philippines.

“The US has rallied its allies to continue hyping up the South China Sea issue and the Ren’ai Reef incident. Some ‘trigger-happy’ American forces stir up the situation in the South China Sea and relevant waters with the aim of arousing contradiction and even confrontation between China and the Philippines and disrupting peace and tranquility in the South China Sea,” Zhou claimed.

The Embassy called on the Philippine government to remain “vigilant against the masterminds behind all this and keep its hands on the wheels for peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

He did not identify the “masterminds” but apparently referred to the US “and some other forces” whom he accused of “constantly making waves in the South China Sea for fear that the South China Sea will no longer be chaotic.”

‘Integral part of China’

Zhou reiterated China’s position that Ayungin Shoal is part of the Spratly Islands, which they call Nansha Islands. But instead of the usual nine-dash line claim, he used the two post-World War II documents to assert their claim.

He cited the Potsdam Declaration and Cairo Declaration which declared that “all territories Japan has seized from the Chinese, including those of Nansha Islands and Xisha Islands, shall be restored to China.”

“This is an integral part of the international order post-Second World War and the true status quo of Ren’ai Reef,” Zhou said.

Diplomatic track

The Chinese Embassy official revealed that there was a consensus in 2021 between the Philippines and China to manage the dispute in Ayungin Shoal.

The “consensus” was to allow the Philippines to continue re-supply missions to the Ayungin Shoal on humanitarian grounds. But China said they made it “clear” that they are “firmly against the transportation of large-scale construction materials” to repair and reinforce BRP Sierra Madre firmly on the shoal.

“Throughout the year 2022, the consensus has effectively ensured general stability and tranquility in the waters off Ren’ai Reef.

“Unfortunately, beginning early this year, the Philippine Government refused to acknowledge and implement the existing consensus and started to take a series of unilateral actions,” Zhou said.

The Embassy said they suggested early this year that both sides discuss “measures to strengthen the management of the situation of Ren’ai Reef as early as possible” as well as “return to the track of honoring the existing consensus.”

“We also provided the Philippine side with a draft proposal. We are still waiting for the formal response from the Philippine side,” he added.

The Philippine side, Zhou claimed, “insisted on transporting construction materials to the ‘grounded vessel’ for overhaul and reinforcement.”

This is the reason, he asserted, the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese Navy took “warning law-enforcement measures and stopped the vessel carrying construction materials.”

“I believe you have also noticed that the other Philippine re-supply vessel entered the lagoon of Ren’ai Reef and performed its humanitarian re-supply mission. This showed the restraint and humanitarian spirit of the Chinese side,” Zhou said.

Source : BusinessMirror