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Chinese military irked by Indian naval ship's drills with Philippine Navy

BEIJING (PTI): Peeved over the recent naval exercises between the navies of India and the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea, the Chinese military on Thursday said defence cooperation between different countries should not harm the interests of third countries and regional peace.

Answering a question from Chinese official media about naval exercises between an Indian naval ship and the Philippines naval vessel besides plans by France to hold naval and air drills with the Philippine Navy, Spokesman of the Chinese Defence Ministry Senior Col Wu Qian said China has taken note of the reports.

China has always emphasised that defence and security cooperation between relevant countries must not harm the interests of third parties or hurt regional peace and stability, he said.

China is getting restive about military cooperation between the Philippines and other countries as its coastguard ships recently involved face-offs with Philippine Navy vessels to assert Beijing’s control over the parts of the disputed South China Sea, also claimed by Manila.

The Philippine Navy this month alleged that the Chinese ships used water cannons to attack its ships.

China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims over the area.

Earlier this month, Indian naval ship INS Kadmatt during its visit to the Philippines participated in a maritime exercise in the South China Sea alongside BRP Ramon Alcaraz, an offshore patrol vessel of the Philippine Navy.

Without directly referring to any country, Wu said the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines is an issue between Beijing and Manila, and no third party has the right to intervene.

China will maintain a high degree of vigilance and take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests, he said.

On the allegation that Chinese coastguard ships used water cannons against the Philippines vessels, Wu said it is purely false hype.

The Philippines side, in disregard of repeated warnings from the Chinese side, insisted on sending a vessel to intrude into the areas claimed by China and the Philippines vessel rammed into the Chinese coastguard vessel and damaged it, he claimed.

Such behaviour is very dangerous and extremely unprofessional. The China Coast Guard took necessary enforcement measures in accordance with law and were totally justified and legitimate, he said.

About the US criticism of actions by Chinese coastguard ships against the Philippines vessels and reference to Washington’s commitments under the Mutual Defence Treaty with Manila, Wu said China is strongly dissatisfied with such remarks and firmly opposed to this.

He reiterated that China has indisputable sovereignty over the areas claimed by Manila and accused the US of instigating the Philippines to provoke China.

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