China urges Philippines not to further damage bilateral ties

China on Wednesday urged the Philippines not to further damage bilateral relations, and expressed the country’s willingness to jointly explore gas resources in waters off the coast of the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a routine press briefing when asked about whether China believes that the Huangyan Island incident will escalate.

Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying stated China’s stance and requirements in the representations made to the Philippine side on Monday, said Hong.

We have noted that the Philippine side has repeatedly made strongly-worded remarks about the incident on Huangyan Island, which have provoked public feelings and severely undermined the atmosphere of bilateral relations, he said.

The Philippines also instigated the Philippine public and Philippine people living overseas to stage demonstrations against China, which have aroused strong responses and concern among Chinese living overseas, said Hong.

“We hope the Philippines will not further damage bilateral relations, ” said the spokesman.

There is no change in China’s position on resolving the current tensions through diplomatic efforts, he said, urging the Philippines to seriously respond to China’s concerns and return to the right track.

According to media reports, a Philippine firm is discussing a possible partnership with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) on gas exploration at the Liyue Tan, also known as the Reed Bank, of the Nansha archipelago in the South China Sea.

In response to the reports, Hong said China supports communication and cooperation between firms of the two countries. However, he stressed that the Liyue Tan is a part of China’s Nansha Islands.

“If the Philippine side unilaterally conducts gas exploration in the sea area neighboring the Liyue Tan, it will definitely harm China’s rights and interests,” he said, adding that China firmly opposes such action.

Hong said China is ready to discuss jointly developing gas resources with the Philippines, but it is vital for the Philippines to show its sincerity.

问:近日,外交部副部长傅莹就黄岩岛事件再次约见菲律宾驻华使馆临时代办,表示中方对形势难以乐观,已做好应对菲方扩大事态的各种准备。中方是否认为黄岩岛事件还将进一步升级?

答:关于黄岩岛事件,傅莹副部长在5月7日的交涉中已向菲方全面阐述了中方立场和要求。我们注意到,菲方在此次黄岩岛事件中不断发表措辞强硬的言论,煽动民众情绪,严重损害了中菲双边关系的气氛。菲方还鼓动国内民众和海外侨民发起针对中国的游行示威。这种行为已经引发海内外中国民众的强烈反应和关注。我们希望菲方不要进一步损伤两国关系。

我愿再次强调,中方坚持通过外交协商解决当前事态的立场没有变化。我们再次敦促菲方认真回应中方关切,尽快回到正确的道路上来。

问:据报道,菲律宾一家矿产公司正同中海油协商,寻求在南沙群岛附近的礼乐滩联合开发油气资源,请证实。中方对此有何评论?

答:我们支持中菲企业间加强交流与合作。关于礼乐滩海域的油气开发问题,中方的态度是明确的,礼乐滩是中国南沙群岛的一部分。如菲方在这一海域进行单方面油气开发,必将损害中国权益,中方坚决反对。同时,中方也愿意与菲方探讨共同开发事宜,关键是菲方应拿出诚意。
Xinhua