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DFA Spokesperson’s Statement in Response to the Statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on 07 August 2023
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08 August 2023 – Ayungin Shoal, as explicitly stated in the Award of the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration, is a low-tide elevation that is not subject to sovereignty claims or appropriation.  It is part of the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines over which the Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

The Philippines’ resupply missions and repair of BRP Sierra Madre are part of regular operations in line with domestic and international law, and ensures safety and wellbeing of our stationed personnel. 

The BRP Sierra Madre is a commissioned vessel of the Philippine Navy that serves as a permanent station for Philippine military personnel deployed to protect and secure Philippine rights and interests in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the Ayungin Shoal and its vicinity.

The Philippines decided in 1999 to deploy a permanent station on Ayungin Shoal in response to China’s illegal occupation of Panganiban Reef in 1995.  The deployment of a Philippine military station in its own areas of jurisdiction is an inherent right of the Philippines and does not violate any laws. Moreover, the Philippine station on Ayungin Shoal was deployed in 1999, years ahead of the conclusion in 2002 of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and is therefore not a violation of the DOC.

The China Coast Guard’s actions on 05 August 2023 impeded the Philippines’ legitimate and regular activities in its own exclusive economic zone and were in violation of the relevant provisions of the 1982 UNCLOS, the Award on the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration, the 1972 COLREGS, and the 2002 ASEAN-China DOC.

The 2016 Arbitral Award is based on UNCLOS and affirms UNCLOS. It is final, legal and binding. China as a state party to UNCLOS is well aware of that and we call on China to faithfully adhere to its obligations and commitments as a state party to UNCLOS. END

Note: Reposted from DFA Website (

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