Beijing, April 18: The Philippines and China have indicted each other for maritime intrusion in disputed waters between the two countries after a standoff last week.
The Philippines has registered a second formal diplomatic protest against China and said that it was harassing a research ship carrying scientists, including nine French nationals, on the Scarborough Shoal.
China said the vessel was in its waters and should have left immediately, The BBC reports.
Raul Hernandez, a spokesman for the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, said the archaeological research ship with the Philippine flag had been ‘harassed by Chinese ships and aircraft’.
He added that they had lodged the protest as the harassment of the vessel was part of continued intrusion and illegal activities being done in the area.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila, however, accused the boat of intrusion.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario has asked China to settle the issue over the area at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). But China has not replied so far.
China has always claimed sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, bringing it into dispute with neighbouring countries in the region.
The latest incident comes as the Philippines and the US hold joint military exercises.
A Chinese newspaper has accused the United States of hypocrisy for holding the exercises close to disputed waters. (ANI)