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China Warns Philippines Against ‘Escalation’ in Disputed South China Sea

After accusing the Philippines of trespassing into its claimed maritime zone in the disputed South China Sea, Beijing on Friday warned Manila against “escalation” of the situation.

The Chinese military lodged a protest with Manila over the incident which occurred on Dec. 10, when the Philippines “intruded into adjacent waters” of the Second Thomas Shoal, which Beijing calls Ren’ai Jiao, in the Spratley Islands, or Nansha Qundao, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Zhang Xiaogang.

Manila was attempting to send construction materials to an “illegally grounded warship,” Zhang said, referring to the Philippines’ supply mission to its rusting warship, the BRP Sierra Madre, in the disputed waters.

Urging the Philippines to “stop stirring up trouble, hyping up the issue and making provocations at sea,” Zhang said that “disregarding repeated warnings by the Chinese side, the Philippine ship deliberately rammed the China Coast Guard vessels in a dangerous way, causing scratching, and some personnel of the Philippine military boarded the illegally grounded warship.”

He said China has “indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao, and their adjacent waters.”

The ministry spokesman accused the Philippines for “gravely violating” the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) besides “undermining” peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The DOC is a 2002-signed agreement between China and Southeast Asian nations, though negotiations on it are still ongoing.

In a remark apparently aimed at the US, Zhang said that “some certain non-regional countries with ill intention instigated the situation and fanned the flames.”

“The countries concerned (should) immediately cease their violations and provocations and to avoid further escalation and deterioration of the situation,” he added.

The two sides have conflicting claims over Second Thomas Shoal, also known as Ayungin Shoal, Bai Co May, and Ren’ai Jiao, which is a submerged reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. accused China of “aggression” and “provocation” in the sea Sunday night while Manila Tuesday summoned China’s Ambassador Huang Xilian, to protest what the Philippines called “back-to-back harassments” in the disputed waters.

Source : AA