Beijing rejects Manila's claim over Huangyan Island as 'groundless'

   Apr 25, 4:22 pm

Beijing, April 25 (ANI): China has criticized Philippines expanded claim to the Huangyan Island in the South China Sea.

China has also rejected Manila's accusation that it had the freedom of navigation over the entire sea, China Daily reports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said that Huangyan Island has been an integral part of China since ancient times, and the Philippines' groundless claim over the island was the main reason behind the complicated situation.

Weimin remarks came amid accusations from Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario that China had claim ed virtually the entire South China Sea.

"Expanding the Huangyan Island dispute to involve the entire South China Sea makes no sense," Liu said.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez has said that China was posing 'a potential threat to freedom of navigation as well as unobstructed trade in the area'.

Hernandez has also said that Manila planned to discuss the island issue with Washington during the upcoming '2+2' US-Filipino talks.

Beijing, however, has said that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been an issue, adding that China's long-term exercise and protection of sovereignty over the island will not influence freedom of navigation in the waters.

Moreover, Manila's recent decision to send a warship to the island with personnel for a forced inspection of Chinese fishing boats has worsened the situation, the Chinese spokesman said.

China is ready to settle this incident through friendly diplomatic consultations, Zhang Hua, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines.

Manila's standoff against Beijing in the waters of Huangyan Island entered its fifteenth day. (ANI)

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