China urges Philippines to resolve South China Sea disputes through dialogue

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BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- China once again urges the Philippines to respect the facts, and return to the right track of properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.

In response to a query concerning an open letter by Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily news briefing that the Philippines keeps accusing China of "intimidating smaller countries" without mentioning at all the Philippine occupation of and encroachment on China's territory in Nansha Qundao. That is a real propaganda "trap," said Wang.

"On the issue of Ren'ai Jiao, it's not the size, but the behavior of a country that determines who is right and who is wrong," Wang said.

He pointed out that right after the Philippines deliberately grounded its warship on Ren'ai Jiao in 1999, which seriously violated China's sovereignty, China made demarches to the Philippines, and the Philippines promised to tow away the warship several times. A senior official of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs made it clear that the Philippines had no intention of building any facility on Ren'ai Jiao and it doesn't want to and will not be the first country to violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

"But 25 years on, not only hasn't the Philippines fulfilled its promise to tow away the warship, it has even attempted to send construction materials for large-scale repair and reinforcement of the warship in order to build permanent structures on Ren'ai Jiao," Wang said.

Pointing out that the Philippines has gone back on its words, and stirred up trouble to provoke China, he said the behavior of the Philippines not only breaches the understandings between the two sides on handling the Ren'ai Jiao issue, but also violates the DOC, especially its Article 5 on refraining from action of inhabiting the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays and other features. "The Philippines is clearly responsible for the current tensions in the South China Sea," Wang added.

Wang stressed that China and ASEAN countries have long been committed to properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation between the states directly involved, and have worked together to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, which has kept it generally stable.

However, for some time, the Philippines has been pulling non-regional actors into South China Sea affairs to back Philippine provocations and the violation of China's sovereignty, he said, adding that the Philippines has been pursing selfish gains at the expense of the consensus reached by countries in the region.

"This is the main reason why the situation in the South China Sea has escalated and become more complicated," he said.

"We once again urge the Philippines to respect the facts, observe the relevant understandings between the two sides and DOC provisions, follow the consensus reached between China and ASEAN countries, and return to the right track of properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible," said Wang. Enditem

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