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Palace hoping China will honor word not to build new islands in disputed sea

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 07:27 PM January 23, 2018

This photo taken from a military plane shows the ongoing reclamation on Mischief Reef, one of the reefs being claimed by China and the Philippines, in the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea. AP FILE PHOTO

Malacañang is hoping that China will honor its commitment not to reclaim new islands in the South China Sea amid reports that Beijing would “speed up” island-building activities in the disputed sea.

“Iyang reclamation pong iyan, kung itutuloy, will have an impact on the obligation of good faith so we hope that doesn’t happen,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.

“Because so far we think China’s commitment not to undertake new reclamations and build artificial islands is being honored by China. And I hope the obligation of good faith continues,” Roque added.

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A report by government-run Global Times quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kan saying Beijing would “take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty.”

His statement came after an American warship sailed near a disputed Scarborough shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

The guided missile USS Hopper came within 22 kilometers of Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday night.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said the incident should not be a cause for concern, saying innocent passage was allowed by international law.

READ: PH defends innocent passage of US warship near Panatag

Global Times said in its report that China would be “speeding up the construction of its islands” in the disputed South China, including the Scarborough shoal.

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TAGS: China, Global Times, Harry Roque, Philippine news updates, South China Sea reclamation, West Philippine Sea
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