China’s Embassy Condemns Philippine Envoy’s Remarks on South China Sea

Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez speaks during a U.S. Trade and Development Agency Offshore Wind Grant Signing at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Manila, Philippines, August 6, 2022.

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s embassy in the Philippines on Sunday said it “strongly” condemns the Philippine ambassador to Washington’s recent China-related remarks, saying they “disregarded basic facts.”

The remarks “wantonly hyped up the South China Sea issue and made speculations and malicious smears against China,” the embassy said in a statement.

Jose Manuel Romualdez said on Wednesday that while the United States sees both the South China Sea issue and a potential Taiwan conflict as “serious concerns,” he believed the “real flashpoint is the West Philippine Sea” given “all of these skirmishes happening there.”

The Chinese embassy said: “Inviting wolves into the house and engaging in small circles will not only not help resolve the differences in the South China Sea, but on the contrary will complicate the regional situation, and undermine regional peace and stability.”

It urged Romualdez to stop spreading the “China threat theory” and “paranoia of persecution,” and to refrain from “acting as a spokesperson for other countries.”

The Philippine embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tensions have flashed over maritime disputes in the South China Sea, with Beijing and Manila trading sharp accusations over a slew of run-ins.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual ship-borne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 said China’s claims had no legal basis.