Justice Carpio: China destroyed 17 reefs in Spratlys
CHINA has destroyed 17 reefs in its massive reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands (Kalayaan Island Group) in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio revealed on Wednesday.
“China occupies seven reefs in the Spratlys. It is reclaiming on all seven reefs. Although it occupies seven reefs, it is using filling materials from 10 other reefs so China has actually destroyed 17 reefs in total,” he said in a forum sponsored by the Department of National Defense on the West Philippine Sea dispute at Camp Aguinaldo.
Rapid progress has been made in China’s reclamation activities in recent months in Johnson Reef (Mabini Reef), Cuarteron Reef (Calderon Reef), Gaven Reef (Burgos Reef), Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), Chigua Reef (Keenan Reef), Subi Reef (Zamora Reef) and Mischief Reef (Panganiban Reef).
Carpio said China is getting materials from 10 other reefs for dredging activities. He did not identify the 10 reefs, however.
China has previously said that its activities are “lawful, reasonable and justified.” It said their activities would help in maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation, among others.
The Philippines has filed its arbitration case to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea against China’s sweeping maritime claims. It has yet to decide whether it has jurisdiction on the case.
Carpio said the UNCLOS must be applied to the sea dispute or else it will only get worse.
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