MANILA, Philippines – China’s reported plan to board and inspect ships that enter what it considers its territory in the disputed West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) is illegal, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Saturday.
DFA noted that if the reports are accurate, China’s planned action is “a gross violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC), international law, particularly UNCLOS, and a direct threat to the entire international community.”
“If media reports are accurate, this planned action by China is illegal and will validate the continuous and repeated pronouncements by the Philippines that China's claim of indisputable sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea is not only an excessive claim but a threat to all countries,” the statement added.
DFA also urged China to verify its reported plan, which involves boarding and taking control of ships that enter waters under the jurisdiction of China’s island province of Hainan.
DFA said the action “violates not only the maritime domain of coastal states established under UNCLOS, but also impedes the fundamental freedom of navigation and lawful commerce.”
“If media reports are accurate, the law deserves international condemnation by ASEAN, our international partners and the entire community of nations,” the DFA added.