During a joint military exercise between the Philippines and the United States, China has demanded that the Philippines immediately remove an archaeological ship from the disputed South China Sea (SCS) waters. This region has been in turmoil over the last week.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry official stated that as per international conventions and Chinese law, no organization or individual may conduct such activities as the waters belong to China, in reference to the archaeological vessel near the disputed islands.
Just two days prior, both countries had backed down from a confrontation over the presence of Chinese fishermen in the same waters in the SCS. The two countries had aligned their naval vessels last week at a lagoon near the islands, but pulled the ships out after Manila first removed its biggest vessel.
In reference to this incident, China statements believe that the major cause of the island incident is that the Philippines violated Chinese sovereignty. With an effort from both sides, the situation has been de-escalated.
China has also expressed that their hopes for the ongoing Philippines-US exercises are an effort to contribute to peace and stability in the area, as the U.S. is a relevant country to attribute to the cause. The trend of the region is allegedly for the development of peace and the common development of people. A local news report confirms that approximately 7,000 troops from the US and the Philippines today started annual military exercises near the disputed South China Sea waters.