|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Remarks on Comments by the US State Department on China's Expulsion of Philippine Ships that Transported Construction Materials to the Ren'ai Reef|
Q: In response to China Coast Guard vessels' expulsion of two Philippine ships that transported construction materials to the Ren'ai Reef, US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said on March 12 that China's action "is a provocative move that raises tensions" and that "pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo". She also claimed that the Philippines had maintained a presence at the Ren'ai Reef since 1999. What is China's comment?
A: I believe that facts concerning the Ren'ai Reef are well known to all. A Philippine ship illegally "grounded" on the Ren'ai Reef of China's Nansha Islands in 1999, with the excuse of "malfunction". China made representations right away to the Philippine side who then made unequivocal commitment to towing away the ship. However, the Philippines is yet to live up to its promise and haul away the rusty ship. To make matters worse, it sent two ships to transport construction materials to the Ren'ai Reef, with the aim of building facilities and "maintaining a presence" at China's island. The two Philippine ships were loaded with concrete and rebar rather than food. Is concrete and rebar edible? The behaviour of the Philippine side has infringed upon China's rights and interests and violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). It is an out-and-out provocation. China has every reason to send away the two Philippine ships. Comments made by the US in disregard of facts are inconsistent with its non-party capacity. It goes against US commitment of not taking sides on issues of dispute, has a negative effect on the maintenance of peace and stability of Southeast Asia and in the final analysis, does no good to the US itself.