China warns Philippines over South China Sea dispute

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said the relationships between the two countries are at a "crossroads" and warned the Philippines that it "must act with caution."

China and the Philippines have traded accusations of escalating tensions in the South China Sea. (photo: DW)
China and the Philippines have traded accusations of escalating tensions in the South China Sea. (photo: DW)


China has warned the Philippines that it "must act with caution" after the recent series of disputes in the South China Sea, Beijing's Foreign Ministry said.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has asked the Philippines to resort to dialogue to address what China views as "serious difficulties" in their relations over the South China Sea.

The statement from China comes as incidents of scuffles between vessels from the two countries have escalated in the past few months.

On a call, Wang told his Philippine counterpart, Enrique Manalo, that if Manila misjudges or partners with "ill-intentioned" external forces in the disputed waters, China would defend its rights and respond resolutely, according to a statement by China's Foreign Ministry.

The ministry went on to claim, "The root cause is that the Philippines has changed its longstanding policy stance, reneged on its own commitments, continued to provoke and stir trouble at sea, and undermined China's legal rights."

Describing the call with Wang as "frank and candid," Manalo said they ended the call with a "clearer understanding of our respective positions on a number of issues," according to the readout.

Relations between China and the Philippines at a 'crossroads'

Ties between the two countries have deteriorated since earlier this year when Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. praised the "friendship" the countries shared.

China and the Philippines have been engaged in a dispute that escalated after their vessels collided twice in October in the South China Sea — a strategic trade corridor where the two countries have overlapping territorial claims.

 On 11 December, the Philippines summoned China's envoy and flagged the possibility of expelling him following the latest clashes near Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

 "China-Philippines relations are at a crossroads. Faced with the choice of where to go, the Philippines must act with caution," the readout from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

China claims most of the waters within a so-called Nine Dash Line, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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Published: 21 Dec 2023, 1:27 PM