IV. The Philippines Has Repeatedly Taken Moves that Complicate the Relevant Disputes
92. Since the 1980s, the Philippines has repeatedly taken moves that complicate the relevant disputes.
i. The Philippines attempts to entrench its illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao
93. In China’s Nansha Qundao, the Philippines started in the 1980s to build military facilities on some islands and reefs it has invaded and illegally occupied. In the 1990s, the Philippines continued to build airfields and naval and air force facilities on these illegally-occupied islands and reefs; centered on Zhongye Dao, the construction has extended to other islands and reefs, with runways, military barracks, docks and other facilities built and renovated, so as to accommodate heavy transport planes, fighter jets and more and larger vessels. Furthermore, the Philippines made deliberate provocations by frequently sending its military vessels and aircraft to intrude into Wufang Jiao, Xian’e Jiao, Xinyi Jiao, Banyue Jiao and Ren’ai Jiao of China’s Nansha Qundao, and destroyed survey markers set up by China.
94. Still worse, on 9 May 1999, the Philippines sent BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57), a military vessel, to intrude into China’s Ren’ai Jiao and illegally ran it aground on the pretext of “technical difficulties”. China immediately made solemn representations to the Philippines, demanding the immediate removal of that vessel. But the Philippines claimed that the vessel could not be towed away for “lack of parts”.
95. Over this matter, China has repeatedly made representations to the Philippines and renewed the same demand. For instance, in November 1999, the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo Siazon and Chief of the Presidential Management Staff Leonora de Jesus to make another round of representations. Many times the Philippines promised to tow away the vessel, but it has taken no action.
96. In September 2003, upon the news that the Philippines was preparing to build facilities around that military vessel illegally run aground at Ren’ai Jiao, China lodged immediate representations. The Philippine Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Franklin Ebdalin responded that the Philippines had no intention to construct facilities on Ren’ai Jiao and that, as a signatory to the DOC, the Philippines had no desire to and would not be the first to violate the Declaration.
97. But the Philippines did not fulfill its undertaking to tow away that vessel. Instead, it made even worse provocations. In February 2013, cables were lined up around that grounded vessel and people on board bustled around, making preparations for the construction of permanent facilities. In response to China’s repeated representations, the Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin claimed that the Philippines was simply resupplying and repairing the vessel, and promised that no facilities would be built on Ren’ai Jiao.
98. On 14 March 2014, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement openly declaring that the vessel it ran aground at Ren’ai Jiao was placed there as a permanent Philippine government installation. This was an apparent attempt to provide an excuse for its continued refusal to fulfill its undertaking to tow away that vessel in order to illegally seize Ren’ai Jiao. China immediately responded that it was shocked by this statement and reiterated that it would never allow the Philippines to seize Ren’ai Jiao by any means.
99. In July 2015, the Philippines stated publicly that the so-called maintenance repair was being done to fortify the vessel.
100. To sum up, by running aground its military vessel at Ren’ai Jiao, then promising repeatedly to tow it away but breaking that promise repeatedly and even fortifying it, the Philippines has proven itself to be the first to openly violate the DOC.
101. Over the years, the Philippines has invaded and illegally occupied some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao and constructed various military facilities thereupon in an attempt to establish a fait accompli of permanent occupation. These moves have grossly violated China’s sovereignty over the relevant islands and reefs of Nansha Qundao and violated the Charter of the United Nations and basic norms of international law.
ii. The Philippines has increasingly intensified its infringement of China’s maritime rights and interests
102. Since the 1970s, the Philippines, asserting its unilateral claims, has intruded into, among others, the maritime areas of Liyue Tan and Zhongxiao Tan of China’s Nansha Qundao to carry out illegal oil and gas exploratory drilling, including listing the relevant blocks for bidding.
103. Since 2000, the Philippines has expanded the areas for bidding, intruding into larger sea areas of China’s Nansha Qundao. A large span of sea areas of China’s Nansha Qundao was designated as bidding blocks by the Philippines in 2003. During the fifth “Philippine Energy Contracting Round” launched in May 2014, four of the bidding blocks on offer reached into relevant sea areas of China’s Nansha Qundao.
104. The Philippines has repeatedly intruded into relevant waters of China’s Nansha Qundao, harassing and attacking Chinese fishermen and fishing boats conducting routine fishing operations. Currently available statistics show that from 1989 to 2015, 97 incidents occurred in which the Philippines infringed upon the safety, life and property of Chinese fishermen: 8 involving shooting, 34 assault and robbery, 40 capture and detention, and 15 chasing. These incidents brought adverse consequences to close to 200 Chinese fishing vessels and over 1,000 Chinese fishermen. In addition, the Philippines treated Chinese fishermen in a violent, cruel and inhumane manner.
105. Philippine armed personnel often use excessive force against Chinese fishermen in utter disregard of the safety of their lives. For example, on 27 April 2006, one armed Philippine fishing vessel intruded into Nanfang Qiantan of China’s Nansha Qundao and attacked Chinese fishing boat Qiongqionghai 03012. One Philippine armed motor boat carrying four gunmen approached that Chinese fishing boat. Immediately these gunmen fired several rounds of bullets at the driving panel, killing Chen Yichao and three other Chinese fishermen on the spot, severely wounding two others and causing minor injuries to another. Subsequently a total of 13 gunmen forced their way onboard the Chinese fishing boat and seized satellite navigation and communication equipment, fishing equipment and harvests and other items.
106. The Philippines has repeatedly infringed China’s maritime rights and interests in an attempt to expand and entrench its illegal claims in the South China Sea. These actions have grossly violated China’s sovereignty and rights and interests in the South China Sea. By doing so, the Philippines has seriously violated its own commitment made under the DOC to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes. By firing upon Chinese fishing boats and fishermen, illegally seizing and detaining Chinese fishermen, giving them inhumane treatment and robbing them of their property, the Philippines has gravely infringed upon the personal and property safety and the dignity of Chinese fishermen and blatantly trampled on their basic human rights.