Chinese Embassy describes Defense Secretary Lorenzana's statement as "perplexing"
Chinese Embassy says Niu’e Jiao is part of Nansha Islands
MANILA – The Chinese Embassy in Manila today said they have taken note of what they described as “perplexing statement” from Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana on the Chinese fishing vessels around Niu’e Jiao in the South China Sea.
The Embassy statement said an earlier assertion has been by their spokesperson on the presence of Chinese “Maritime Militia Vessels” dated March 22,2021.
“The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years. The Chinese fishermen have been fishing in the waters for their livelihood every year. It is completely normal for Chinese fishing vessels to fish in the waters and take shelter near the near reef during rough sea conditions. Nobody has the right to make wanton remarks on such activities,” the statement added.
It said China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the waters as they expressed home that concerned authorities make “constructive efforts and avoid any unprofessional remarks which may further fan irrational emotions.”
Earlier, the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest on the presence of Chinese fishing vessels said to have maritime militia personnel on board along the Julian Felipe Reef, reported part within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Department of Foreign Affairs said while they have no new statement today, the Philippines’ position has remained the same.
“The continued Chinese presence in the West Philippine Sea has been unequivocal, as articulated by the recent statement of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea and the statement today by the Department of National Defense,” the DFA said in a message to Foreign Affairs-based reporters. (Melo M. Acuña)
(Philippine Coast Guard handout photo)