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Philippines rejects China’s ‘baseless’ claims over WPS

MANILA, Philippines, March 19 ------ The Philippines has long-standing sovereignty and control over Bajo de Masinloc and the Kalayaan Island Group, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) asserted, countering China’s claims of historic rights in the South China Sea. In a statement, the DFA called the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement on the supposed historic rights and sweeping claims of Beijing in the resource-rich waterway “baseless and misleading.”


The DFA stressed that Bajo de Masinloc and the features that now form the Kalayaan Island Group “appeared and were clearly identified in the administrative maps of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period, including the 1734 Murillo Velarde Map of the Philippines.” It added that the 2016 Arbitral Award made it clear that China’s claim to historic rights or jurisdiction beyond the limits allowed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) “are without legal effect.”


Beijing, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, including waters the Philippines calls its West Philippine Sea, has ignored the international tribunal ruling. “The Philippines maintains a firm stand against misguided claims and irresponsible actions that violate Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction in its own maritime domain,” the DFA said. “The Philippines has never used the South China Sea issue to heighten tensions, mislead the international community, or undermine peace and stability in the region,” it added as it urged China to reconsider its “unfounded positions and claims.”


The DFA said last week that Manila did not consider many of Beijing’s maritime-related proposals because they were found “to be contrary to our national interests.”


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also said that China’s proposals stood on a questionable premise after a Chinese official was quoted in a report published by the Manila Times as saying that the 11 concept papers presented by Beijing last year “were met with inaction by the Marcos administration.”




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