China has dismissed a call from the Philippines Minister of Defence for restraint in military activities in the South China Sea.
During the 2011 Asia Security Summit held on 3rd – 5th June 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, the Philippine Secretary of National Defense, Voltaire T. Gazmin, expressed his concern that the “legitimate activities” of private firms in the South China Sea were being disturbed by patrolling naval vessels.
According to the Philippine government, Malaysia and Vietnam joined the call for stability in the South China Sea.
On Tuesday 7th June 2011, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said:
“Chinese vessels were cruising and carrying out scientific studies in waters under China’s jurisdiction, and their activities were in line with the law.”
“China asks the Philippine side to stop harming China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, which leads to unilateral actions that expand and complicate South China Sea disputes.
“The Philippine side should stop publishing irresponsible statements that do not match the facts.”
Both sides underlined their commitment to Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The China spokesman also opened the door to negotiation saying that it is willing to seek solutions to properly handle the dispute by directly consulting or negotiating with the Philippines.
It was only May 23rd when General Liang Guanglie, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China visited Secretary Gazmin to discuss mutual security issues including the South China Sea. The two are seen above at a press conference.