UK condemns China over incidents in the South China Sea against Philippines

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Monday condemned what it called “unsafe and escalatory tactics deployed by Chinese vessels” against the Philippines over the weekend in the South China Sea.

“The UK opposes any action which raises tensions, including harassment, unsafe conduct and intimidation tactics which increase the risk of miscalculation and threaten regional peace and stability,” the foreign office said in a statement.

“Both China and the Philippines must adhere to the findings of the 2016 Arbitral Award proceedings, which are legally binding on both parties, it added.

A spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in London said Beijing firmly opposes and strongly condemns the UK’s “groundless accusations”, and has lodged stern representations with the British side on this.

“We urge the British side to respect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, stop stirring up trouble and sowing discord,” the remarks posted on the embassy website said.

(Reporting by Muvija M, and Liz Lee in Beijing; Editing by Andrew and Sandra Maler)