Gov't to buy technology to verify Chinese activities in South China Sea: Roque
The Duterte administration is set to acquire an equipment that will help verify Chinese activities in the disputed South China Sea, Malacanang said on Monday.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said contrary to reports, the government has been concerned regarding the Chinese activities, including militarization of the disputed waters.
"we are viewing this with much concern because any possible scenario that would encourage military action in our backyard, in our exclusive economic zone and in the?one of the busiest sea lanes in the world is troublesome. So like the rest of the world, we value freedom of navigation. But we have more of an interest because this is covered by our EEZ ( exclusive economic zone)," Roque said.
The Philippine government has yet to confirm reports China has installed missile systems in its three artificial islands, which are within the Philippine EEZ.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.earlier admitted the government has no capability to check the reports as it has to rely on its allies.
Roque said during his recent conversation with Esperon, he was told that the government would acquire technology so it could monitor activities in the disputed waters.
He said he forgot the technology that Esperon told him.
But Roque added, "I will ask him again and tell you tomorrow what it is that we were awaiting so that we can have finally our own capacity to verify for ourselves."
Roque reiterated the government has been exercising diplomatic initiatives with China regarding its activities in the South China Sea.
The government was not only making it public, he said.
"Let me remind you that it is an accepted exception to freedom of information - diplomatic conversations and initiatives," Roque said. Celerina Monte/DMS