Home Asean News Philippines Rejects China Claim On Maritime Dispute In South China Sea

Philippines Rejects China Claim On Maritime Dispute In South China Sea


On Saturday, the Philippines refuted a statement from China asserting that the two nations had settled their intensifying maritime conflict in the South China Sea, labelling it as propaganda. Earlier, on April 18, a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in Manila claimed that both countries had earlier this year agreed to a “new model” for managing tensions at the Second Thomas Shoal, though details were not provided.

Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said on Saturday his department was “not aware of, nor is it a party to, any internal agreement with China” since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr took office in 2022. Defence department officials have not spoken to any Chinese officials since last year, Teodoro said in a statement.

Beijing and Manila have repeatedly clashed in recent months at the submerged reef, which the Philippines says is in its exclusive economic zone but which China also claims.

The Philippines had accused China of blocking manoeuvres and firing water cannons at its vessels to disrupt supply missions to Filipino soldiers stationed in a naval ship which Manila deliberately grounded in 1999 to bolster its maritime claims.

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China asserts sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, a key maritime route handling over $3 trillion in trade each year. This claim conflicts with those of the Philippines and four other countries. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s claims lacked legal foundation, a verdict that Beijing has dismissed.

Teodoro called China’s claims of a bilateral agreement “part of the Chinese propaganda”, adding that the Philippines would never enter into any agreement that would compromise its claims in the waterway.

“The narrative that unnamed or unidentified Chinese officials are propagating is another crude attempt to advance a falsehood,” he said.

With Inputs From Reuters