‘Japan strongly opposes any action that heightens tensions’ – envoy

“The South China Sea issues are directly related to peace & stability and a concern for all. Japan strongly opposes any action that heightens tensions,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a Twitter post March 23.

“We support the enforcement of #RuleOfLaw in the sea & work with the int’l community to protect the free, open, and peaceful seas,” he added.

The US Embassy in Manila earlier said “we have seen reports of the presence of more than 200 PRC fishing vessels amassing near Whitsun (Julian Felipe) Reef.”

“We note Secretary of National Defense Lornzana’s call for the PRC to recall the bats and Secretary of Foreign Afairs Locsin’s filing of a diplomatic protest,” it added. “We share the concerns of our Philippine allies. The PRC uses maritime militia to intimidate, provoke, and threaten other nations, which undermines peace and security in the region.” 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has demanded China to promptly withdraw its fishing vessels in Julian Felipe Reef in West Philippine Sea.

“The Philippine demands that China promptly withdraw its fishing vessels and maritime assets in the vicinity and adjacent waters of relevant features in the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea, and to direct its fishing vessels to desist from environmentally destructive activities,” DFA said in a statement.

“China’s continuing infringements and tolerance thereof, notwithstanding the persistent and resolute protests of the government of the Republic of the Philippines, are contrary to China’s commitments under international law and the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” DFA added.