BEIJING — In another potshot at the United States and the Philippines, China’s Foreign Ministry accused both countries of greatly exaggerating China’s threat in the disputed areas to further their own interests.
The criticism comes amid plans by the United States to send its ships to patrol the West Philippine Sea and by the Philippines to build a naval base in Palawan’s west coastline which is near the site of the ongoing sea row.
In an interview, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the Philippines is continuing to stir up trouble in the disputed seas by bringing the US into the fore.
“Some people in the Philippines are jumping very high and are echoing some people in some countries to actively exaggerate the China threat, manufacturing tensions in the region,” she said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to raise the issue of navigational freedom when he makes a visit to China this weekend.
Situation Is Stable
Hua also denounced the Philippines’ continuous calls for intervention in the dispute, saying the situation does not require it.
“As anyone can see, there is currently no tension in the area…it is only the Philippines raising it,” she said, adding that any threat to China’s sovereignty in the disputed isles will receive an appropriate response.
“We will continue to defend our interests,” she said.
China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and several members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are currently involved in a lingering dispute over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea which is also one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
China claims the entire area as its own while its smaller neighbors each have overlapping claims.
Beijing has consistently refused outside intervention or international arbitration over the dispute, saying it will only negotiate with its rival claimants via two-way talks.