Alleged further Chinese militarization in South China Sea increases threat to peace, security: Palace
China's reported further militarization of South China Sea increases threat to peace and security in the region, Malacanang said on Tuesday
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said similar to what Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said, filing of a diplomatic protest by the Department of Foreign Affairs is the proper remedy if it would be established China installed military equipment in Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), an area in South China Sea, which is also being claimed by the Philippines.
"Certainly not okay because, of course, it constitutes a further threat to peace and security in the area," he said.
While this could be a concern, Roque did not share the statement of Lorenzana there could be a breach of Chinese commitment to the Philippines not to further militarize the South China Sea.
"Kagitingan is one of the islands that it had already reclaimed. And this is also one of the islands subject of the arbitral tribunal’s decision that it is within the Philippine economic zone. So when we invoke the good faith of China, it is against making further reclamation and not making further works on islands that it had already reclaimed," he said.
"So I hope that is very clear. So the good faith we’re relying on is the commitment of China not to embark on new reclamations," he added.
Lorenzana recalled that China promised not to militarize its reclaimed areas in South China Sea.
Asked if the Philippines has plan to recover the Philippine-claimed areas now controlled by China in the disputed waters, Roque said, "we have plans." But he said he could not discuss it.
"It’s a traditional exception to freedom of information. Military secrets and diplomatic matters," he said.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, while the Philippines has been claiming only areas within its 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone. Celerina Monte/DMS