China commits ‘fresh violation’ over West Philippine Sea – DFA-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
PHILIPPINE authorities still refuse to comment until they have confirmed reports of "fresh violation" committed by China in the contested West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.
"We are awaiting further confirmation. Jointly with DND [Department of National Defense], we are committed to look at ways to appropriately address this issue," DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Tuesday showed a map of the disputed Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal where three Chinese coast guard vessels were sighted, as well as concrete blocks, which are prelude to construction.
Such activities were monitored by the military on August 31 as taking place in the area where a two-month naval standoff between the Philippines and China ensued last year.
The photographs, according to Gazmin, have already been sent to the Foreign Affairs department and to the Office of the President.
Lawmakers were wary that this could be a repeat of what happened at the Panganiban Reef in 1994 when the Chinese constructed facilities there after Philippine military left the area because of the monsoon season. Since then, Beijing has controlled the reef, which is located within the Philippines' 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Control, experts said, is the primary basis of any territorial claim.
Tensions in the resource-rich region have always been present, but it wasn't until April 2012 when intense diplomatic spats were traded between the two governments amid the naval rubble in Scarborough Shoal.
Both countries reached an agreement to leave the shoal, but it was only Filipino-manned vessels which adhered to that agreement. Chinese vessels stayed and are reportedly now in the process of constructing facilities. (CVB/Sunnex)