BEIJING - China on Friday expressed concern over the security of its citizens in the Philippines and hope that the Philippine side will refrain from actions that will escalate tensions.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a routine press briefing.
According to media reports, about 200 Philippine activists held an anti-China demonstration on Friday outside a Chinese consular office in Manila over the Huangyan Island incident.
Meanwhile, many Chinese travel agencies have suspended travel services to the Philippines due to safety concerns.
Reaffirming that Huangyan Island is an inherent part of Chinese territory, Hong said it is a false move for the Philippine side to incite the anti-China protest, which will escalate and complicate the current situation.
China has requested the Philippine side take effective measures to protect the security, lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and agencies in the country, according to Hong.
He urged the Philippine side to respect China's territory sovereignty and take tangible actions to prevent escalation of the tensions.