ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
China confronts Philippines South China Sea
China on Friday brushed aside Philippine complaints that Chinese patrol boats had inappropriately harassed a Filipino oil exploration vessel in disputed waters.
The Philippines said it scrambled a military aircraft to an area of the South China Sea during Wednesday's incident, but no armed hostilities occurred.
Sun Yi, spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Manila, did not comment directly on the incident when contacted by AFP, saying only that the mission was taking note of the reports.
But he insisted China had sovereignty over the disputed area, known as the Nansha islands by the Chinese and the Spratly islands elsewhere.
"I want to point out that since historical times China has had indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and their adjacent waters," Sun said.
The Spratly Islands, a reputedly oil-rich chain of tiny islands and reefs in the South China Sea, are claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Philippine military said on Thursday that the Chinese patrol boats ordered the Philippine vessel to leave.
But it said the patrol boats themselves eventually moved off when the plane arrived in the area.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ed Malaya said the Philippine government had asked the Chinese embassy to explain the incident, but had received no reply.
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