China says it enjoys sovereignty over Spratlys, Scarborough; asks PHL for respect

“China enjoys sovereignty over Nansha (Spratly) Islands including Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island and Zhongsha Islands including Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) and their adjacent waters, and exercises jurisdiction in relevant waters,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during April 26 press briefing.

“We urge the relevant side to respect China’s sovereignty and rights and interests, and stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes,” he added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson made the statement in response to Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s recent maritime exercises in West Philippine Sea with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

PCG said, the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) started their maritime exercises near the Bajo De Masinloc on April 24, while the BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) and PCG-manned BFAR vessels commenced their ship interoperability training near the Pag-asa Island last week.

“We are supporting the whole-of-nation approach in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the efforts of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to undertake maritime security, maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection roles in our country’s waters,” PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said.