The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged the Philippines not to "play with fire" on the Taiwan question.
According to reports, the Philippines' defense chief has ordered the military to boost the number of troops and structures on the Batanes islands which are less than 200 km from China's Taiwan region.
In response at a daily press briefing, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said friendly exchanges are the mainstream of the history of China-Philippines relations, adding that the two countries should uphold mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
"The Taiwan question is at the very core of China's core interests, and is the first red line that must not be crossed," Wang said, urging the Philippines to establish a clear understanding on this issue.
(Cover: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a daily press briefing. /Chinese Foreign Ministry)