The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday assailed the Chinese government for claiming that China is the victim in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute.

Hua said that still, the Philippines “schemes to permanently occupy” Ayungin Shoal, which China calls the Ren’ai Jiao, “by reinforcing the vessel”.

“China strongly protests and firmly opposes such an act”, Hua said in a statement on Wednesday.

He added that China’s bullying is to divert the attention from its domestic issues.

“Just as the Philippine Navy is morally and duty bound to resupply its personnel with food, water, medicines, and other basic necessities, it is incumbent upon the Navy leadership to ensure that the minimum survivable condition of the ship is accorded to its personnel on board”, Arevalo said.

The Philippines is using the ship to assert its claim over the West Philippine Sea.

China also maintained that it would not accept any ruling by the worldwide arbitral tribunal on the dispute. Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

China recently called Philippines the “real troublemaker and rule-breaker in the region” after the Navy reinforced the hull and deck of the rusting ship.

If the Philippines gets a favorable ruling from the arbitration court, it will be given the chance to deliver its arguments on its maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea and to disprove China’s territorial claim.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) today said that there is nothing wrong with the repairs being done in BRP Sierra Madre (LT-57), a vessel grounded at Ayunging Shoal.

“It once again proved that the Philippines is truly a troublemaker and rule breaker in the region”. It is being guarded by Marines stationed in BRP Sierra Madre, the remaining symbol of Philippine sovereignty in the area.

She accused the Philippines’ arbitration moves of ignoring China’s legitimate rights under worldwide laws.

Defense public affairs service director Arsenio Andolong said that in his opinion, the fix work does not violate the code of conduct signed in 2002 by China and Southeast Asian nations.

China warned it can take “further actions” after the Philippines confirmed it is fortifying the BRP Sierra Madre, a grounded ship on Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal) in the South China Sea.