Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez on Friday said China’s reclamation works in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) will cause a major shift in regional peace and security if the activities not immediately stopped and dismantled.
China’s building activities on the disputed waterway, according to him, are not only the concern of the Philippines but of the entire international community.
“[They are] of grave concern and a great threat to our national security. If not immediately stopped and dismantled, [they]will cause a major shift in regional peace and security.
[They] will have impact on multiple dimensions of national security today and in the long term,” Galvez said.
Malacañang also on Friday welcomed US President Barack Obama’s concern over China’s aggressive acts in the West Philippine Sea as it reiterated Manila’s opposition to the Asian giant’s reclamation activities.
Its deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Manila continues to bring up the issue through diplomatic channels.
“The government is strongly opposed to any reclamation work being done in disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea. In fact, [the Department of]Foreign Affairs immediately filed a diplomatic protest when it learned of the work at the first instance,” she added.
“We are committed to pursuing legal and diplomatic tracks as grounded in President Aquino’s policy of a peaceful and rules-based approach to resolving the maritime disputes,” Valte said.
In an interview on ABS-CBN news channel’s “Headstart,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose insisted that the contested Mischief Reef is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
“It is part of our 200-nautical mile continental shelf, so only the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign right and jurisdiction to this Mischief Reef. So China cannot appropriate the Mischief Reef as part of its territory,” Jose said.
“[These] reclamation work[s]being done by China [are]really a big concern not only for the Philippines but for all claimant countries that have claims over maritime territories in the South China Sea,” he added.