China vows to guard Scarborough shoal

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 22 2012 11:15 PM | Updated as of May 24 2012 04:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - China has vowed to "remain vigilant" over Scarborough shoal amid its simmering territorial dispute with the Philippines.

The Chinese embassy in Manila, in a statement sent to media Tuesday, insisted that the shoal belongs to Beijing.

"Huangyan Island has always been China's territory. The Chinese side will remain highly vigilant on the island and obstruct any provocative behavior,"  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in reaction to an aborted plan by a group of Filipinos to go to the shoal just west of the Philippines.

"We also hope that the related sides from the Philippines will stop making irresponsible remarks or provoking unrestricted behaviors, return to the correct path of diplomatic solution and hence send clear and consistent message," he added.

Hong said a recent drill by a naval fleet of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the West Pacific waters was a regular training program and was not aimed at any particular country or target.

He said China's stand over the issue is "clear-cut."

"Huangyan Island has always been China's territory, and China possesses indisputable sovereignty over the island," he said.

"The Philippine side should concretely respect China's territorial sovereignty. At the same time, China's position of committing to diplomatic consultation to address the current situation remains unchanged," he added.

Hong said the Philippines should "work towards the same direction with the Chinese side, take China's concerns seriously, return to the correct path of diplomatic solution and hence send clear and consistent message."