China on Wednesday urged the Philippines to stop all "illegal activities" in the lagoon surrounding its Huangyan Island in the South China Sea and leave the region immediately.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila lodged a protest with the Philippine Foreign Affairs Department on the "harassment" of Chinese fishermen by the Philippine Navy in the lagoon, the Embassy said in a statement.
The Embassy reiterated China's sovereignty over Huangyan Island, and urged the Philippine side to stop immediately their "illegal activities" and leave the area.
It said 12 Chinese fishing boats, seeking shelter from bad weather, on Tuesday were prevented from entering the lagoon by a Philippine Naval gunboat which also deployed 12 soldiers, six of them armed, to harass the Chinese fishermen.
Two Chinese Marine Surveillance ships were in the area when the incident took place, fulfilling the duties of safeguarding Chinese national maritime rights and interests, it said.
The Embassy reiterated that Huangyan Island is an integral part of the Chinese territory and the waters around it is the traditional fishing area of Chinese fishermen, for which China has "abundant historical and jurisprudence backings."
Since ancient times, numerous documents on Chinese history have written down that Huangyan Island is a Chinese territory. "The fact that China has sovereign rights and exercises jurisdiction over the Huangyan Island is widely respected by the international community," China's Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.
The Embassy said it was still engaged in discussions with the Philippines Foreign Affairs Department to seek a solution to the issue, so that China-Philippine friendly relations and peace, stability in South China Sea were well preserved in the best interest of both the countries.
by RTT Staff Writer
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