Beijing Monday condemned Manila's attempt to "rename" the Huangyan Island as China is set to launch its first deepwater oil rig in the South China Sea.
The Huangyan Island [file photo]
Manila Thursday announced that it would "rename" Huangyan Island as Panatag Shoal, and is considering erazing China-related signs on the island.
Manila also attempted to bring other countries and organizations in the dispute by tendering the issue to international tribunals.
Chinese Foreign Ministry warned on Monday that Manila's actions targeting the Huangyan Island are "illegal and invalid", and will not change the fact that the island belongs to China.
"We strongly urge the Philippines to return to diplomacy," and any remark or move that complicates or intensifies the situation is nonsensical, Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news conference in Beijing.
"Huangyan Island is an inherent part of China's territory and the surrounding waters are historic fishing areas for Chinese fishermen," Liu said.
Beijing's stance in resolving the situation through diplomacy remains "unchanged," Hong added.
Huangyan Island has been an integral part of China's territory for centuries. The Philippines did not challenge China's sovereignty over the island until 1997.
Manila's latest actions over Huangyan Island have incited a nationalist fervor among the Philippine public, Yang Baoyun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Peking University warned.
On April 10, 12 Chinese fishing boats were harassed by a Philippine warship while taking refuge from harsh weather in a lagoon near the island. Two Chinese patrol ships in the area later came to the fishermen's rescue, and the warship left.
Chinese fishermen returned home. But the standoff between China and the Philippines continues as the Philippine vessels still remain in China's territorial waters on Monday.