China Urges Philippines to Avoid Crossing 'Red Lines' on Taiwan
10:34 GMT 08.02.2024 (Updated: 05:06 GMT 10.02.2024)
BEIJING (Sputnik) - The Philippines should understand that the Taiwan issue is a "red line" for China and cannot be crossed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday, adding that Manila should not "play with fire."
On Wednesday, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro called for the boosting of the country's military presence on the country's northernmost island of Mavulis located between the Batanes archipelago and Taiwan.
"The Taiwan issue is the main one of China's core interests and a ’red line’ that cannot be crossed, the relevant [persons] in the Philippines should have a clear understanding of this, act with caution, and not play with fire on the Taiwan issue to avoid being used and harmed," Wang told a briefing.
China and the Philippines are neighboring countries and friendly exchanges should remain the main focus in the history of their relations, he added.
The patrol involved the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) littoral combat ship embarked with the MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the US, and the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15) ship with AW109 Helicopter (NH434) from the Philippines, the statement read.
The allied forces conducted maritime communication operations to "enhance interoperability" as part of the patrol, the US fleet said.
This was the third joint patrol of the US and the Philippines, following the those conducted in November and January.
In January, Teodoro announced plans to increase military activities with the United States and its allies due to China's alleged "aggressive" stance. The build-up of military capabilities will help to make an effective contribution to regional stability, the defense minister said. The same month, the Philippine and Chinese foreign ministers agreed to develop cooperation and resolve incidents in the South China Sea to reduce regional tensions.
Tensions between the Philippines and China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea have been on the rise since October 4, 2023, when Philippine vessels completed a resupply mission in Second Thomas Shoal despite blocking attempts by the Chinese coast guard.
Additionally, the two countries have territorial disputes over a number of islands in the South China Sea.