ARelations between the two countries “are at a turning point. Faced with the choice of which direction to take, the Philippines must act with caution”, warned the Chinese Foreign Minister, quoted in a statement released by his ministry.

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday with Philippine Foreign Minister Enrique Manalo, Wang said the two countries were facing “serious difficulties” and blamed Manila for the situation, according to the same statement.

“The original reason was that the Philippines changed its political position, reneged on its own commitments, continued to provoke and cause problems at sea and infringed on China’s legal rights,” he said.

Last week, Manila summoned the Chinese ambassador and raised the possibility of expelling him, following new clashes between ships from the two countries in the South China Sea.

According to videos released by the Philippine Coast Guard, Chinese ships fired water cannons at Philippine vessels on a supply mission on December 10.

On the same day, there was a clash between a Philippine ship and a Chinese coast guard vessel.

Beijing believes it has “historic rights” to almost the entire South China Sea, including waters and islands near the coasts of neighboring countries, and has ignored a 2016 ruling by an international court that rejected its claims as having no legal basis.

Read Also: Philippines’ diplomatic efforts with China “go wrong”

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