China-Korea: At today's press conference in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry spokesman was asked about China's reaction to the North Korean Foreign Ministry reference to nuclear weapons and to yesterday's coastal artillery shelling across the Northern Limit Line, off the west coast of Korea. He said that China judges that tension is increasing on the Korean peninsula and that China is worried. He repeated the now standard Chinese advice to remain calm, not escalate tension, maintain peace and stability and solve problems through negotiations.
Philippines-China: Over the weekend, a Philippine commercial cargo ship delivering supplies to a Philippine Marine squad on Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands group west of Palawan Island encountered two Chinese patrol ships. The Chinese name for the shoal is the Ren'ai Reef. The Philippine ship carried a media film crew who captured and broadcast the confrontation at sea.
The Chinese warned the Philippine ship away and moved their ships to block the Philippine ship from reaching the eight Marines, who rotate duty on a rust-bucket ship deliberately run aground to show the Philippine flag. The Philippine ship captain outmaneuvered the Chinese and delivered the supplies. This generated a diplomatic confrontation.
Today, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman replied to a question.
"Following the Philippines' announcement on 29 March of delivering supplies to the "grounded" warship on Ren'ai Reef (Second Thomas Shoal), Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario announced on the 30th that the Philippines had filed a case on that day with the international arbitration tribunal regarding the disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. Does the Chinese side have any comment?"
"Regarding the Philippines' announcement… I already reiterated the Chinese side's solemn position of not accepting or participating in the arbitration immediately after that."
"Regarding the issue of Ren'ai Reef, I want to point out that the Philippine side's organization of a press event in the waters around Ren'ai Reef the day before the submission of its arbitration case was absolutely a deliberately planned act with the aim of further hyping up the Ren'ai Reef issue, building momentum for the Philippine side in pursuing international arbitration, and serving the Philippine side's attempt to illegally occupy the Chinese territory of Ren'ai Reef…. "
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