Philippines rejects China’s demand to remove ship from shoal | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Philippines rejects China’s demand to remove ship from shoal

The Philippines’ defense chief rejected on Thursday China’s renewed demand that it remove its outpost on a disputed South China Sea shoal and said Chinese coast guard ships should leave the area and stop blocking Manila’s supply boats.

Philippine forces use a grounded warship, the BRP Sierra Madre, as an outpost on the submerged but strategic shoal that is at the center of an ongoing dispute with China.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Second Thomas Shoal lies within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China has ratified. He said a 2016 ruling by a U.N.-backed arbitration tribunal also invalidated China’s claims to the busy waterway, leaving them without any legal basis.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Philippines Wednesday to “honor its commitment” and remove its grounded vessel on Ren’ai Jiao, the name Beijing uses for the shoal, which Filipinos refer to as Ayungin. Chinese coast guard ships have allowed Manila’s boats to bring food and other supplies to Filipino forces at the shoal for humanitarian reasons, it said.

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