While China was working with other ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, and the country was worrying about the safety of the passengers in the missing plane, two ships loaded with construction materials and carrying the flags of the Philippines approached the Ren'ai Reef on March 9, 2014.
The Ren'ai Reef falls under the dominion of China's Nansha Islands, and China claims indisputable sovereignty over the Reef. In 1999 a Philippine warship grounded on the reef, claiming it had been stranded. Since then, China has repeatedly demanded that the Philippines retrieve the warship, but the Philippines have refused to do so on the basis of claimed "technical reasons". The Philippines's ulterior motive - to occupy the reef - is unmistakable.
The Philippines chose to fuel the conflict just after March 8 when Wang Yi, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs, reiterated China's resolve to protect its sovereignty and territory at the press conference of the Second Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress. He said: "We will never bully smaller countries, but neither will we ever accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries. On issues of territory and sovereignty, China's position is firm and clear. We will not take anything that isn't ours, but we will defend every inch of territory that belongs to us." The Philippines have chosen to turn a deaf ear to China's warnings.
Another aim on the part of the Philippines is to impede forthcoming talks on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN countries will hold the tenth Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in Singapore on March 18, 2014. This meeting is very important for advancing talks on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The Philippines is trying to hamper the efforts made by China and other ASEAN countries to solve existing disputes.
China will not tolerate these maneuvers by the Philippines. ASEAN countries will increase their vigilance against "troublemakers" like the Philippines and work with China towards the secure development of the South China Sea area.
The article is edited and translated from《不惯菲"浑水摸鱼"毛病》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author: Su Xiaohui