Japan slams China moves seen to escalate conflict in SCS

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines is “closely” watching China’s actions in contested waters “with concern” after the latter illegally put up a floating barrier at the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“Japan strongly opposes any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea (SCS),” it said in a statement issued Monday night.

The WPS is a part of the SCS that China also claims.

Japan stressed that issues in the disputed waterways “are directly connected to regional peace and stability, and are a legitimate concern of the international community.”

The embassy then reiterated its commitment to bolstering its security ties with the Philippines and another military powerhouse, the United States.

Japan’s statement came after reports of another act of aggression in the WPS surfaced.

Late on Monday, the Palace instructed the Philippine Coast Guard to remove the floating barrier, which authorities said could put Filipino fishermen at risk.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, meanwhile, said the removal of the floating barrier was “consistent” with the Philippines' stance on the WPS.

READ: DFA says removal of China's barrier 'consistent' with PH position