The Philippines has reacted strongly to Beijing’s opposition to its ongoing coastguard exercises inside the country’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea.
Philippines’ Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that China has no authority or legal basis to prevent them from conducting exercises in the South China Sea as Chinese claims have no basis. The Philippine coastguard and fisheries bureau started maritime exercises on Saturday, near a Philippine-held island in the disputed Spratly archipelago and at the heavily contested Scarborough Shoal.
Responding to the exercises, China’s foreign ministry had said that the Philippines should stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes. While China claims almost the entire South China Sea, in 2016, an arbitral tribunal in The Hague ruled that claim, which China bases on its old maps, is inconsistent with international law.