Palace to check reports on Chinese reclamation in 2 more reefs
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2014 - 4:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will verify reports that China is also reclaiming land in two more disputed reefs in the West Philippine Sea.

This, after the STAR reported on Friday that according to a confidential Malacañang report, China is also doing land reclamation activities in the Hughes (Kennan) Reef and Eldad (Malvar) Reef.

"I am not quite certain about the other two that have been mentioned, but we will check with the military," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a televised press briefing on Friday.

Valte said these new activities by China, if proven true, show that the Asian giant is "very aggressive" in pursuing its expansion in the contested waters.

"Obviously, these steps are designed to advance the theory of their nine-dash line," Valte said.

China and the Philippines have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, with the latter pursuing an arbitration case in an international tribunal.

After the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed that China is reclaiming land in the Mabini Reef, President Benigno Aquino III also said that Chinese ships were also spotted in the Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef and Gaven (Burgos) Reef.

The Malacañang report cited by the STAR said China could also conduct land reclamation activities in Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, Subi (Zamora) Reef and Mischief (Panganiban) Reef, where China had built military garrisons and communications facilities.

Read: China reclaiming land in 5 reefs?

DFA spokesperson Charles Jose had said that China may be changing the physical nature of the contested territories to jeopardize the arbitration case filed by the Philippines.

Aquino had also said that China is violating the informal code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea with its reported reclamation activities.

China, on the other hand, insists that it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the contested territories.

Meantime, Valte maintained that the Philippines will not respond to maritime activities that could further escalate tensions.

"We have chosen those tracks: the legal, the political, as well as the diplomatic; and we will stick to that. Again, we will not respond to provocative acts," the Palace official said.

AFTER THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHARLES JOSE CHINA CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABIGAIL VALTE MALACA REEF VALTE WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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