The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, expressing displeasure over the illegal presence of Chinese vessels near Julian Felipe reef.

DFA Acting Undersecretary Elizabeth Buensuceso on Monday informed Huang that Julian Felipe Reef lies within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

In a statement, DFA said the continuing presence of Chinese vessels around the reef was a source of regional tension.

Buensuceso also highlighted the July 12, 2016 international arbitration ruling that voided China’s historical claims to the South China Sea.

Citing Huang’s “untoward statements” on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Buensuceso reminded the envoy of proper decorum and manners of guests in the Philippines.

The foreign affairs official also reiterated the Philippines’s firm demand to China to immediately remove all of its vessels from Julian Felipe Reef and from other areas covered by the Philippine maritime zone. Jade Veronique Yap