BEIJING, August 7. /TASS/. China demands that the United States stop sowing discord in the region under the pretext of supporting the Philippines in incidents in the South China Sea, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday.
"We insist that the American side stop using the problem of the South China Sea to sow discord and stir divisions," the ministry said, adding that Washington’s plans to infringe upon China’s sovereignty with Manila’s help will not succeed.
According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the US’ attempts to exert pressure on Beijing by means of violating the UN maritime conventions "are unlawful and futile." "China expresses strong protest. We insist that the United States respect the efforts of the countries of the region to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea," it stressed.
US Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller on Saturday voiced support for the Philippines following an incident when a Chinese Coast Guard boat used a water cannon while maneuvering close to Philippine vessels near the Ayungin Shoal in the South China Sea. He warned that in case of an attack, the United States will have to act in line with article 4 of the 1951 mutual defense treaty between Washington and Manila.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard, the incident occurred during the escorting of ships carrying cargo for Philippine soldiers deployed in the area of the Ayungin Shoal. Back in 1999, the Philippines placed the WWII-era US Sierra Madre landing ship offshore the disputed reefs in the South China Sea in order to monitor China’s activities in the area. A small contingent is permanently stationed in this area. Meanwhile, China has repeatedly demanded that this ship be removed and has threatened to tow it away itself.