PH files diplomatic protest vs China over test flights
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed a diplomatic protest over China’s test flights at the Kagitingan Reef.
“We formally protested on 8 January 2016 the recent test flights conducted by China to the Kagitingan (Fiery Reef) and its provocative actions restricting the freedom of navigation and overflight in the West Philippine Sea,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message sent to reporters.
“These actions by China have elevated tensions and anxiety in the region and are in violation of the spirit and letter of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-China DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties),” Jose added.
China, however, was quick to reject the diplomatic protest.
On January 2, the Chinese foreign ministry released a statement saying Beijing had completed construction of an airfield on Philippine-claimed (Fiery Cross) Reef, and recently used a civilian plane to conduct a flight testing whether the facilities were up to civil-aviation standards.
Vietnam, which also claims the reef, protested China’s actions.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said the test flight to Kagitingan, which the Chinese call Yongshu Island, was a matter “completely within China’s sovereignty.” IDL
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