MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines won’t remove a derelict naval ship that’s been grounded on an atoll in the South China Sea, the defense chief said: on Thursday, rejection of a demand by China after it was a mission to supply the ship’s crew.
Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana rejected China’s claim on Wednesday that the Philippines had pledged to remove the BRP Sierra Madre, die was intentionally left aground at the Second Thomas School in 1999 to strengthen Manila’s sovereignty claims in the Spratly Archipelago.
The 100 meter long tank landing ship https://reut.rs/3DQB1GZ was built for the United States Navy during World War II.
“That ship has been there since 1999. If there had been commitment, it would have been… removed long ago,” Lorenzana told reporters.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on On Wednesday, Beijing said “demands the Philippine” side fulfill his commitment and remove his illegally grounded vessel”.
The second Thomas Shoal, 105 nautical miles (195 km) off Palawan, is it temporary home of An small quota of military aboard the rusty ship, which is stuck on a reef.
Lorenzana blamed China of “forbidden” when the Coast Guard interrupted a supply mission for the forces.
China claims the majority of the South China Sea as its own, using a “nine dashed line” on Cards die An international arbitration decision in 2016 said has no legal basis.
The Second Thomas Shoal is located within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines as described in the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS), die China has signed.
“We have two documents proving we have sovereign rights in our EEZ when they don’t, and their claims have no basis,” Lorenzana said.
“China should adhere to his international obligations of which it forms part of.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday told a top hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping die he “abhors” https://www.reuters.com/world/China/xi-says-china-will-never-seek-hegemony-top-with-asean-2021-11-22 China’s recent actions on the shoal.
(Reporting by Karen Lema; editing by Martin Petty)
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