• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:15am
NewsAsia
MARITIME DISPUTE

Manila investigates claims of Chinese reclamation on disputed Spratlys reefs in South China Sea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 5:33am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 June, 2014, 10:19am

The Philippines yesterday said it was investigating signs that China was reclaiming land on disputed South China Sea reefs but stressed it would not be provoked into a rash response.

President Benigno Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the government was looking into reports that the Chinese were damaging the reefs in an alleged effort to turn two remote outcrops in the sea into islands.

But Valte added that Manila would continue to pursue a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

"We do not respond to provocative action, especially [through] military action ... we always exhaust the diplomatic channels, as well as other legal means that can help us address this particular issue," Valte said.

She also reiterated Aquino's earlier remarks that Chinese ships had been spotted in the South China Sea, possibly carrying land-reclamation equipment.

The two reefs are within the Spratly Islands, a disputed archipelago claimed in full or part by the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Photographs allegedly taken by the Philippine military showing Chinese ships engaged in land reclamation off a reef were published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a major Manila daily yesterday.

However, an armed forces spokesman could not confirm if the photographs were genuine.

Last month, the Philippines publicly accused Beijing of large-scale reclamation activity at the Chinese-held Johnson South Reef in the Spratlys.

Manila, which also claims the reef, said the reclamation work could lead to China building its first airstrip in the disputed region.

Johnson South Reef lies about 300km from the large Philippine island of Palawan and is considerably further away from the Chinese coastline.

The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China's reclamation works on the reef but Beijing rejected it on grounds the reef is part of Chinese territory.

Tensions have risen over China's claim to most of the South China Sea, with the Philippines and Vietnam being the most vocal in recent years in accusing China of using bullying tactics to enforce its claim.

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11

This article is now closed to comments

M Miyagi
Pinoy Aquino should mind his own business.
hkis
China should get the hell out of other countries land. They are ignorant, arrogant and hopefully will be further isolated.
ejmciii
China only uses international law when it suits it and whines like a 14 year old girl when it thinks its feelings are hurt. So the matter is that the voracious Dragon continues to drive its rivals together. Well done. China really never has been willing to deal with any other nation as an equal when it really is a nation of inferiors. So it goes.
wumao
The Philippines are wise to use diplomatic means to settle South China Sea disputes.
.
No doubt the arbitration case they have initiated will find that China's 9-dash line has no standing in international law, affirming the rights of the Asean nations to their 200 NM Exclusive Economic Zones in the South China Sea.
.
When this happens, it will make no sense for the Chinese to spend billions building a port and air strip to defend the 12 NM zones around the few reefs/sandbars they occupy in the Spratley Islands and Scarborough Shoal. None of these features qualify to be called islands, so they do not generate a 200 NM EEZ.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
We got an Internet Warrior here, folks.
ejmciii
Morons from the Ministry of Propaganda should shut their useless traps but you are getting 0.5RMB per post. Would not want to see another unemployed Chinese tool.
koolmay1
Aquino should do more for the Filipinos instead of stirring up trouble in the South China Sea. What he has done doesn't help the Philippines in anyway.
ejmciii
Convince them to do a Mark 46 torpedo test in shallow water and wipe the Chinese violation off the face of the earth and thus resolve the issue. The Chinese will only respect force and force beyond what they are capable of deploying. PLA does not have a good body count versus the Vietnamese or Americans.
guy.pant
What's a matter - the gang up approach backfiring and the Philippines took so long to realize no one adheres to UNCLOS or what they call international law?
michaelhctam@gmail.com
just run to daddy USA, who are you trying to convince.

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