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China will never accept the Philippines' illegal seizure of the Ren'ai Reef, an area over which China has indisputable sovereignty, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.|
"China's determination and will to safeguard its sovereignty is unswerving, and it will never accept the Philippines' illegal seizure of the Ren'ai Reef in any form," spokesman Hong Lei told a daily press briefing.
Hong's comments came in response to a question regarding Chinese vessels' recent activities near the Ren'ai Reef.
Hong said China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its surrounding waters.
He recalled how a Philippine warship illegally landed on the beach of the Ren'ai Reef of China's Nansha Islands in 1999, claiming it had been stranded.
Since then, China has made solemn representations to the Philippines dozens of times, demanding that the country tow the warship, Hong said.
The Philippine side said it has not dragged away the warship because of a "lack of parts," stressing that the country does not have any intention of building any facilities on the reef and that it is not making any attempts at provocation, Hong said.
"The Philippine side, however, disregards China's solemn stance and its own promise, attempts to intensify its illegal existence and seize the Ren'ai Reef, which seriously infringes upon China's territorial sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," Hong said.
"Chinese government ships are justified in carrying out regular patrols in relevant waters," the spokesman said.
China urges the Philippine side to earnestly honor its commitment, work together with China, refrain from doing things that complicate the situation and make due efforts in safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea, Hong said.