'New' Name for Island Sparks Fury from Beijing
2012-05-08 09:55:31 China Daily Web Editor: cuichaoqun
Beijing on Monday slammed Manila's attempt to "rename" Huangyan Island as China is set to launch its first deepwater oil rig in the South China Sea.
Manila declared on Thursday that it would "rename" Huangyan Island as Panatag Shoal, and is considering removing signs on the island related to China.
Manila also planned to involve other countries and organizations in the dispute by raising the issue before international tribunals.
The Foreign Ministry warned on Monday that Manila's actions targeting Huangyan Island are "illegal and invalid", and will not change the fact that the island belongs to China.
"We strongly urge the Philippines to return to diplomacy," and any remark or move that complicates or intensifies the situation is nonsensical, Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news conference in Beijing.
Beijing's stance in resolving the situation through diplomacy is "unchanged," Hong added.
Huangyan Island has been an integral part of China's territory for centuries.
The Philippines did not challenge China's sovereignty over the island until 1997.
Manila's latest actions over Huangyan Island have incited a nationalist fervor among the Philippine public, Yang Baoyun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Peking University warned.
A Philippine warship entered the island's territorial waters on April 10, and dispatched personnel to harass Chinese fishing boats and attempted to detain Chinese fishermen.
The move infringed sovereignty. Two Chinese patrol ships in the area came to the fishermen's rescue, and the warship left.
But the impasse continues as Philippine vessels were reported still to be in China's territorial waters on Monday.