^

Headlines

DND concerned over China’s defense of South China Sea reclamation

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Defense Department on Monday raised concerns over China’s reclamation projects in disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and its plan to substantially hike its military budget in the coming year.

Defense Department spokesman Peter Galvez said China’s reclamation activities could stoke untoward incidents in the already tense area.

“They (China’s reclamation projects) will continue to cause the occurrence of miscalculation or accidents,” Galvez said in an interview.

“It (possibility of miscalculations happening) becomes higher because of their insistence and their continuous aggressive stance in the region. This is a very serious concern,” he added.

Galvez called on China to stop its construction activities in disputed areas, saying they violate the Declaration of the Code of Conduct (DOC) signed by claimants in 2002. Under the declaration, claimants should refrain from any activity that would stir tensions or complicate the territorial row.

“The issue of reclamation is about respect for the DOC,” Galvez said.

China has been building structures in disputed areas to assert its territorial claim, which spans virtually the entire West Philippine Sea.

Satellite images released recently by defense intelligence provider IHS Jane showed that China is achieving significant progress in its construction projects in Kennan (Hughes), Mabini (Johnson South) and Burgos (Gaven) Reefs, areas that the Philippines considers as parts of its territory.

The Philippines has filed a complaint against China’s “excessive” and “exaggerated” territorial claim before an international arbitral tribunal.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently justified the reclamation in disputed territories, saying such projects are necessary.

"We are not like some countries which have carried out 'illegal building' in other people's home, and we won't accept unwarranted remarks about work on our own home," he said in a press conference in Beijing over the weekend.

Wang also claimed that the projects are not directed against anyone. He also gave assurance that his country does not seek to disrupt international order.

"Today we are in this boat, together with more than 190 other countries. So of course we don't want to upset the boat, rather we want to work with other passengers to make sure this boat will sail forward steadily and in the right direction," the Chinese official said.  

Galvez said a higher budget for the Chinese military could mean more reconstruction activities in disputed areas.

“Even their budget is a very big concern not only for the region but the international community because at this present budget, they are already doing this. With more budget poured into their defense,  you can just imagine what they can do,” Galvez said.

“We respect (their plan to hike defense spending). It’s anyone’s prerogative but the important there is the transparency on how this budget is being spent,” he added.

China is planning to raise its military budget by 10.1 percent in the coming year amid concerns over its aggressive territorial expansion.

If the plan pushes through, it would mark the fifth year in a row the Asian superpower raised its defense spending by double digit.

BUDGET

CHINA

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI

DECLARATION OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

GALVEZ

JOHNSON SOUTH

PETER GALVEZ

SOUTH CHINA SEA

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with