Aquino: Chinese ships for reclamation spotted in 2 more reefs
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2014 - 12:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III revealed on Thursday that he has received reports of "movements" by Chinese ships in at least two more reefs in the South China Sea.

In a televised interview with reporters in Manila, Aquino said that the ships were located in the Gavin Reef and Cuarteron Reef, which are disputed low-tide features in the Spratlys.

"We are again bothered that there seems to be developments in other areas within the disputed seas," Aquino said at the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

Aquino said the Chinese ships seem to be similar to those doing land reclamation activities in the Mabini Reef.

"'Yung pictures that I saw were just ships that can be used for reclamation," he said.

Last month, Aquino accused China of violating the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

He cited the fifth provision of the DOC which urges China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to exercise "self-restraint" in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability."

The provision also states that the countries should refrain from "action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner."

The President's new statements came after an arbitral tribunal ordered China to answer the case filed by the Philippines questioning the Asian giant's excessive maritime claims.

Aquino reiterated that the country dismisses China's "indisputable sovereignty" in the disputed sea.

"Kailangan ng resolution and yung arbitral track is one of the solutions because both of us and others have said let us conform to international law," Aquino said.

He said a decision on the arbitration case will clarify all the disputes and will determine the rights and obligations of the Philippines and China in the contested waters.

"Magkakaroon ng desisyon: kanino bang claim ang tama o anong bahagi ba ng mga claim ang tama. Ano bang bahagi ng claim ang hindi tama? So, lalabas yon for the entire international community," Aquino said.

China has reiterated that it will not participate in the arbitral proceedings initiated by the Philippines.

Aquino, however, insisted that arbitration will resolve the disputes without the use of force or coercion.

"Karapatan nila kung sasama sila o hindi. Inimbitahan natin sila na pumunta tayo dito para maresolve na nga natin na siguradong peaceful way of resolving the dispute," Aquino said.

AQUINO ASIA EUROPE MEETING CONFERENCE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS CHINA CONDUCT OF PARTIES CUARTERON REEF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT GAVIN REEF MABINI REEF SOUTH CHINA SEA
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