Travel agencies in another Chinese city have suspended all tours to the Philippines due to safety concerns arising from a month-long dispute over the sovereignty of an island in the South China Sea.
"We have refunded tourists who had paid for their planned trips to the Philippines," said Wei Yong, general manager of the Overseas Travel Agency of Dalian, a port city in northeast China's Liaoning province, on Friday.
"We will keep following the developments of the situation. We will not arrange travels to the Philippines until the personal safety of tourists can be fully guaranteed," Wei said.
Travel agencies in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities have already halted tours to the Philippines, which has kept stirring up trouble in the waters around China's Huangyan Island in the South China Sea over the past month in defiance of China's warning and stance of resolving disputes through diplomatic ways.
China's Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed concern over the security of Chinese nationals in the Philippines and hoped that the Philippine side would refrain from actions that would escalate tensions.
According to media reports, about 200 Philippine activists held an anti-China demonstration on Friday outside a Chinese consular office in Manila over the Huangyan Island incident.
Reaffirming that Huangyan Island is an inherent part of Chinese territory, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said it is wrong for the Philippine side to fan the anti-China protest, which would escalate and complicate the current situation.
China has requested the Philippine side take effective measures to protect the security, lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and agencies in the country, according to Hong.
He urged the Philippine side to respect China's sovereignty and take tangible actions to prevent an escalation of tensions.