Philippines tells China: Reed Bank is ours
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - July 14, 2014 - 7:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — Manila ignored Beijing's opposition to drilling operations in the resource-rich seas near Reed (Recto) Bank, which is sitting within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Philippine government will extend the contract of British firm Forum Energy conducting drilling operations in the disputed area until August 2016.

"In accordance with UNCLOS, the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign rights over the Reed Bank. No other state is lawfully entitled to assert sovereignty or sovereign rights over the said area," Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in a state report on Monday.

Jose issued the statement following Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei's criticism of the Philippines last week saying the drilling extension is "illegal" and "invalid."

He added that the Reed Bank, locally known as Recto Bank, is a "completely submerged bank that is part of the continental margin of Palawan."

Jose explained that the land feature is about 85 nautical miles from the nearest coast of Palawan, while 595 nautical miles from the coast of China's Hainan province.

On Wednesday, Forum Energy said it has evaluated the commercial potential of the block and to "help identify the best location for possible appraisal wells to be drilled."

The United States, meanwhile, has proposed a moratorium on economic and military activities in the hotly contested East China and South China Seas.

CHARLES JOSE CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS EAST CHINA AND SOUTH CHINA SEAS FOREIGN AFFAIRS FORUM ENERGY HONG LEI ON WEDNESDAY PALAWAN REED BANK
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