By Mei Jingya, Sina English
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in Manila on Wednesday and handed her a note verbale to protest China’s recent establishment of Sansha city.
DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said Thursday China’s Sansha move contradicts a 2002 multilateral accord and violated Philippine’s sovereignty.
The multilateral document taken reference by Hernandez is the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, signed in 2002 as a binding guideline of actions between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
China announced in late June that a new prefectural-level city would be created to have jurisdiction over Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands and Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, which the Philippines says is overlapping its claim.
Also on Wednesday, Luo Baoming, party secretary of southern Hainan province, told State Oceanic Administration (SOA) officials that preparations are being made for start-up of the Sansha government.
Luo said Sansha’s establishment is of great significance in China’s economic and political spheres, and also in national defense. He expressed his gratitude to SOA’s contributions all along and pledged to strengthen maritime surveillance and protection as well as speeding up the development in the South China Sea.
On the flip side, Philippine president Aquino III presided a full cabinet meeting in palace Thursday afternoon to discuss Phil-China relations. DFA and officials in charge of trade and security were all present so that the sea standoff with China can be viewed in a broader context.
Reports say Philippine trade authorities complained a lot about their losses, a fallout of the Huangyan Island standoff.
At the meeting, Aquino called for all departments to soften their tone and not to make comments that might provoke China or harm the country’s economic interests.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeperson Hong Lei reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over Xisha Islands, Zhongsha Islands, Nansha Islands and the surrounding waters. The Chinese government is exercising its sovereignty in creating Sansha City to better administer the region.