Palace still relying on China’s ‘good faith’ amid reports of island expansion
Malacañang on Monday said it continues to rely on “China’s good faith” after a Reuters report said Beijing has “reasonably” expanded its islands in the South China Sea.
“We don’t know where these works are. We continue to rely on China’s good faith. Location is material since we do not have claims on all the islands and waters in the disputed area,” Roque said when sought for comment on the reported expansion of China’s reclamation in the disputed sea.
On Monday, a Reuters report, citing a new report posted on a website run by China’s National Marine Data and Information Service, said Beijing has enhanced its military presence in the South China Sea and “reasonably” expanded its islands in the disputed sea.
The report on island expansion came more than a month after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China have agreed to start negotiations on a code of conduct on the South China Sea.
Roque had earlier said the 10-member states of the Asean would want a “somehow legally binding” Code of Conduct on the South China Sea.
“I think that was a priority of the President [Rodrigo Duterte] because unless it becomes legally binding, we would not achieve the kind of predictability that all the countries want in order to achieve peace and stability in the region,” Roque said.
He said a legally binding sea code would be “a key to stability in the region.” /je
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