By Patricia Lourdes Viray
South China Sea arbitration award brushed aside
MANILA, Philippines — Ignoring the arbitral ruling anew, Beijing insisted that it is within their sovereignty what to do with Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal following reports that Americans stopped them from reclaiming the Filipino fishing ground.
Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that China was set to reclaim Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea but was instructed by the Americans not to do so.
"It is China's sovereignty to decide what to do or not to do on Huangyan Dao (Scarborough Shoal). Without a doubt, China will properly handle the relevant issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing last Friday.
Geng considered Lorenzana's claims as "groundless speculation" and stressed that China-Philippines relations are developing.
"It is hoped that individuals in the Philippines will stop groundless speculation and make more efforts to promote mutual trust and bilateral relations," Geng said.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua recently reported that the China has extended its maritime jurisdiction to cover all seas "under its jurisdiction."
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