PH vigilant on China’s new dredger
The Philippines expressed concern on China’s new testing of a dredger ship in the waters of the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
“The mere presence is a little bit concerning, yes,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Monday.
The Tian Kun Hao started its water tests on Friday, state-run media Beijing News said. The ship is used for land reclamation.
The 140-meter-long, 28-meter-wide ship was also dubbed by Chinese local media as “Asia’s most powerful island maker.”
“We have reports that they launched their big dredger but we don’t know where it’s going. We are constantly monitoring the movement of this ship,” Lorenzana said.
Because of the movement, troops in the Philippine-claimed islands in the West Philippine Sea have been ordered to keep an eye on any developments.
“We have security there in Pagasa Island (Thitu), and all the islands that we occupy so we will know immediately kung meron silang ginagawa sa islands natin,” the defense chief said.
The Philippines also has detachments in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, Lawak (Nanshan) Island, Parola (Northeast Cay) Island, Patag (Flat) Island, Kota (Loaita) Island, Rizal (Commodore) Reef, Likas (West York) Island and Panata (Lankiam Cay) Island.
Aerial and maritime patrols are conducted regularly to monitor the movement of the dredger ship.
“Now wala pa masyado siguro because wala pa naman ginagawa yung dredger na yan, where it is going,” Lorenzana said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.