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Pimentel: Senate to probe reported China military activities at sea

/ 05:18 PM May 06, 2018
Aquilino Pimentel III

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday said the Senate would look into the militarization on West Philippine Sea amid reports that China had installed missiles on three Philippine-claimed reefs.

Pimentel agreed when asked if he saw the need to probe the government’s response to China’s military activities in the disputed waters.

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“Yes, Senate foreign relations committee should first find out what really is happening,” he said in a message to reporters when asked about the call of former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay for a Senate investigation on the matter.

“Then have a closed-door confidential briefing on how the Department of Foreign Affairs intends to handle what is happening on the ground [after this is confirmed],” he added.

US network CNBC said China had deployed anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air missile system on Kagitingan, Zamora and Panganiban, three of seven Philippine-claimed reefs that China had seized and transformed into artificial islands.

According to China, the “deployment of necessary national defense facilities” are “meant to safeguard China’s sovereignty and security.”

Manila has yet to verify the reports, but Malacañang has said it was “concerned” over the reported presence of anti-ship missiles.

“We are concerned with the reported China’s missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement. /atm

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TAGS: Aquilino Pimentel III, China-Philippines relations, Chinese missiles, Florin Hilbay, Harry Roque, Koko Pimentel, Maritime Dispute, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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