Manila, Philippines – September 26, 2023
The Philippines has taken a strong stance against China’s recent installation of a floating barrier at a disputed lagoon in the South China Sea, vowing to remove the structure amidst rising tensions in the region.
The controversy centers around the Lido Lagoon, an area claimed by both the Philippines and China as part of their respective territories. Reports indicate that China deployed the floating barrier, which spans a significant portion of the lagoon’s entrance, over the past week. The barrier, constructed of large interconnected buoys and netting, has raised concerns about the free movement of vessels in the area.
In a statement issued today, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs condemned China’s actions as a violation of their territorial sovereignty and called for the immediate removal of the barrier. “The Philippines will not stand idly by while its sovereign rights are violated. We demand the removal of this obstruction, which is not only a threat to our national security but also hinders the livelihoods of our fishermen,” the statement read.
The Philippines further urged the international community to take note of the situation and respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which governs maritime disputes. They emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution through dialogue and adherence to established international norms.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the Philippines’ statement, asserting its sovereignty over the disputed region. They argued that the installation of the barrier was a legitimate measure aimed at safeguarding Chinese interests in the area and that any interference by the Philippines would be met with a strong response.
Tensions in the South China Sea have escalated in recent years, with multiple nations laying competing claims to various islands, reefs, and waters in the region. The presence of military assets and the construction of artificial islands have only intensified concerns over potential conflicts.
The international community is closely watching the situation, as the Philippines’ determination to remove the floating barrier could lead to further friction between the two nations. Diplomatic efforts and peaceful negotiations will likely play a pivotal role in defusing the current crisis and preventing a more significant escalation of tensions in the South China Sea.