PH plans of putting up tracking outpost in South China Sea ‘illegal’ — Beijing
CHINA has scored the Philippines’ plans of installing a civilian-flight tracking system on Pagasa Island (Thitu Island) in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, in a regular press briefing, insisted China’s “indisputable sovereignty” in the Spratlys, which they call Nansha. This includes the Philippine-claimed Pagasa Island, known to them as Zhongye Dao.
“Any activity by the Philippine side on China’s territory it has occupied is illegal and cannot cover up the illegal nature of its encroachment,” he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said this week that it had received a radio message from the Chinese Navy when they flew over Pagasa Island using a private Cessna plane last Jan. 7.
“Foreign military, this is the Chinese Navy. You are threatening the security of our station,” the message said.
The CAAP team ignored the warning and landed on the island, where they were set to do a survey for a possible site to set up a satellite, which would be able to monitor aircraft positions.
But Hong dismissed these allegations as a “plot” to increase pressure.
“The Philippine side made relevant remarks with the ulterior motive of sensationalizing the situation and playing up the tension. Their plot will not work,” he added.
Pagasa is the biggest Philippine-claimed island in the Spratlys. It has a population of about 200.
China made test flights early this month in the Fiery Cross Reef, which sparked new tensions in the region. F. Mangosing
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.