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Philippines did not illegally enter any Chinese sovereignty space — NSC

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Council adviser Eduardo Año on Tuesday asserted that the Philippines has the rights in the Scarborough Shoal, citing the international law.

In a statement, the NSC chief countered the Chinese military's claims that the Philippines illegally entered a space under China's sovereignty when Philippine Navy ship, BRP Conrado Yap, passed through the West Philippine Sea.  

“PS39 (BRP Conrado Yap) conducted routine patrol operations in the general vicinity of  Bajo de Masinloc without any untoward incident. It did not illegally enter any space under Chinese sovereignty because Bajo de Masinloc is part of the Philippine archipelago and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone),” Año said in a statement.

“China is again overhyping this incident and creating unnecessary tensions between our two nations. Nonetheless, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) will not be deterred by the aggressive and illegal activities of PLA Navy/China Coast Guard/Militia in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

China earlier decried the BRP Conrado Yap's operation inside the Philippine EEZ. 

“We urge the PH side to immediately stop its infringement and provocation to avoid further escalation,” the Chinese military said in an earlier statement.

China has frequently initiated incidents in the West Philippine Sea, such as the collision with an AFP-contracted boat during a resupply mission for the BRP Sierra Madre last week, and the spraying of water cannons against Filipino fishermen.

The Philippines had filed hundreds of diplomatic protests against China.

Despite the arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines in 2016, China does not recognize Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.