China on Monday denounced Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario's call for other countries to take a stand regarding the South China Sea, adding that China's stance on safeguarding its territory and sovereignty is "clear" and "firm."
Del Rosario, in a Sunday message sent to reporters, urged other countries to "consider what China is endeavoring to do" on the Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.
The Philippines has claimed sovereignty over the island, which is part of Chinese territory.
"The Huangyan Island concerns China's sovereignty and the stance of the Chinese government on safeguarding its territory and sovereignty is clear and firm," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular press briefing.
In the message, del Rosario called for other countries to "take a stand" on China's actions regarding the South China Sea.
"It will only complicate and scale up the issue to ask other countries to take sides over sovereignty issues," Liu said, adding that such a move will not help to properly settle the current situation.
On April 10, twelve Chinese fishing boats were harassed on by a Philippine Navy gunboat while taking refuge from harsh weather in a lagoon near the Huangyan Island. Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships conducting routine patrols in the area later came to the fishermen's rescue.