Philippines ‘strongly protests’ establishment of so-called Chinese districts of Nansha, Xisha

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“The Philippine government strongly protests the establishment of the so-called districts of “Nansha” and “Xisha” under the supposed administrative jurisdiction of its self-declared “Sansha City” announced on 18 April 2020, by the People’s Republic of China,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement regarding China’s Self-Declared “Nansha” and “Xisha” Districts in the South China Sea and naming of features in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

DFA said that the Philippine government has protested since 2012 China’s unlawful establishment of Sansha City and the extent of its administrative jurisdiction, which encompasses Philippine territory and maritime zones in the West Philippine Sea.

“It does not recognize Sansha, nor its constituent units, nor any subsequent acts emanating from them,” DFA noted.

“The Philippines also objects to and does not recognize the Chinese names given to some features in the Kalayaan Island Group,” it added.

“The establishment and supposed extent of jurisdiction of “Sansha City” of which the new two districts are part, violate Philippine territorial sovereignty over the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc, and infringes on Philippine sovereign rights over the waters and continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea. The unanimous Award issued by the Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the arbitration instituted by the Philippines has comprehensively addressed China’s excessive claims and illegal actions in the South China Sea,” DFA explained.

It added that the Philippines protests as well the illegal designation of Kagitingan Reef within the KIG as administrative center for the so-called “Nansha district”.

“Kagitingan Reef is within the Kalayaan Island Group and is thus an integral part of Philippine territory,” it noted.

“The Philippines calls on China to adhere to international law, including the UNCLOS, as well as to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, specifically Paragraph 5 thereof, under which parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability,” DFA said.