China said on Wednesday that it has lodged a representation to the Philippine side about the harassment of its fishermen by the Philippine Navy in a lagoon in China's Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on the incident.
According to the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, 12 Chinese fishing boats were moving into the lagoon to take shelter due to harsh weather conditions, when a Philippine Naval gunboat blocked the entrance of the lagoon. They then dispatched 12 Philippine soldiers to the lagoon, six of whom were armed, and then harassed the Chinese fishermen.
Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships were in the area when the incident took place, allegedly safeguarding Chinese national maritime rights and interests.
Liu said the so-called law-enforcement actions by the Philippine side in the water of Huangyan Island was an infringement of China's sovereignty, and violated bilateral consensus on maintaining the peace and stability of the South China Sea. He called for the Philippines to avoide actions that could complicate and aggravate the situation.
He said the relevant Chinese department has dispatched official ships to Huangyan Island, and the Chinese vessels and fishermen are safe at present.
Liu reiterated that Huangyan Island is an integral part of Chinese territory and China has indisputable sovereignty over the island.
"We urge the Philippine side to proceed based on our bilateral friendship as well as the peace and stability of the South China Sea. We call on them to stop making new troubles, and work with China to create good conditions for the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties," he said.