The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday that it has registered a diplomatic complaint over China’s “continued unlawful presence” in the South China Sea’s Pagasa Islands.
The statement expressed concern over China’s “perpetual deployment, extended presence, and unlawful actions of marine assets and fishing boats” in and around the Pagasa Islands, and urged that China remove its warships. The statement stated, “The Pagasa Islands are an important component of the Philippines, over which the Philippines exercises authority and authority.”
The South China Sea has long been a source of heated territorial conflicts, with all of China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam asserting sovereignty claims. Since 2016, the Philippines has registered at least 84 diplomatic objections against China.
At 2013, the Philippines filed a complaint in the Permanent Court of Arbitration against China, contesting the latter’s territorial claim to the seas. Despite the tribunal’s judgement to reject China’s sweeping claims over the majority of the South China Sea, China has proceeded to disregard the verdict and enforce its unilaterally established “nine-dash line.”