BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhua) -- A China Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday responded to latest comments from the Philippine side on ongoing disputes between the two countries over the South China Sea by saying they should properly solve these issues through diplomatic channels.
Speaking at a regular media briefing, Liu Weimin said China had noted remarks make by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at an event held on Wednesday to commemorate China-Philippines bilateral ties. They included words on easing tensions over competing claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
The president addressed the importance he attaches to bilateral ties, and China also values these relations, said Liu, adding that China hopes for concerted efforts by the two countries to push forward healthy development of the ties.
According to the spokesman, Chinese fishing boats are currently doing "normal fishing" in Huangyan Island waters in the South China Sea, and "Chinese government vessels will continue to provide management and services for its fishing ships and fishermen."
"The general situation tends to ease," he said, but warned, "China hopes the Philippines will not take moves that will complicate and magnify the situation."
According to media reports, the president's speech also upheld Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity by noting Philippine and international laws.
Liu said China has taken note of Aquino's stance, while pointing out that Philippine authorities had confirmed on many occasions that Huangyan Island is not within Philippine territory under the nation's laws.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does not constitute international law defining territorial claims, Liu said.
"Therefore, it is undoubted that China owns sovereignty over Huangyan Island," he reiterated.