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DFA summons Chinese envoy over latest sea confrontation

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday that it has summoned a Chinese envoy following another confrontation in the West Philippine Sea over the weekend. 

The DFA said in a statement that the agency summoned the chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy to protest “aggressive actions” by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese maritime militia against a civilian boat supplying troops stationed at BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal. 

The Philippine Embassy in Beijing will also lodge a similar protest with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Manila asked Beijing to respect the rights of the Philippines, and to cease and desist from its continued violation of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 Arbitral Award that rejected China’s expansive maritime claims. 

The Philippines stressed that China “has no right to be in Ayungin Shoal,” a low-tide elevation that lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. 

“China’s continued interference with the Philippines’ routine and lawful activities in its own exclusive economic zone is unacceptable. It infringes upon the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” the DFA said. 

“The Philippines demands that Chinese vessels leave the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal and the Philippine exclusive economic zone immediately,” it added.

The Philippines on Saturday accused the CCG of blocking and using water cannons against a Filipino supply boat, injuring three soldiers onboard. 

On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry warned the Philippines to “be prepared to bear all potential consequences” of its actions. 

The China Coast Guard earlier defended its actions, describing them as “lawful regulation, interception and expulsion” of a foreign vessel that “tried to forcefully intrude” into Chinese waters.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro on Monday stressed that the Chinese vessels were the ones that entered the Philippines’ territory. 

Teodoro also dared China to settle its South China Sea claims through an international arbitration. 

“Kung talagang gusto nila, kung talagang hindi sila natatakot na ihayag sa buong