Foreign Ministry dismisses Philippine accusations

Updated: 2013-09-12 07:40

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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The Philippines' claim that China has laid 30 concrete building blocks on Huangyan Island is a "sheer fabrication", the Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated on Wednesday.

Philippine navy Vice-Admiral Jose Luis Alano said on Tuesday that Manila is "considering removing the concrete blocks", AFP reported.

"China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters, and it is China that knows the island's situation best. What the Philippines claimed was a sheer fabrication," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing.

On Sept 3, Philippine Defense Department spokesman Peter Galvez said that China laid 30 blocks on the island, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told Parliament members that the concrete blocks were a "prelude to construction", a claim that Beijing strongly rejected.

Xu Liping, a researcher on Asia-Pacific studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Philippines is attempting to "play the victim and attract sympathy" from the international community just days ahead of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting on the South China Sea issue.

China and ASEAN member nations will begin consultations at a senior- level meeting in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Saturday and Sunday on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

The waters off Huangyan Island have been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fisherman since ancient times, and Manila did not assert any official claim over the island until 1997.

What China has said and done in regard to Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters are completely within the prerogative of China's sovereignty, Hong said.

"China urges the Philippines not to make any further provocations, meet the Chinese side halfway, make due efforts to safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea and mend the Sino-Philippine relationship," Hong said.

A serious impasse over the island's situation loomed in April after a Philippines warship entered territorial waters off the island.