Palace: No official report yet on new China facility in West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said there is no official report yet on the supposed establishment of a Chinese maritime rescue center in the Philippine-claimed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
“With respect to that there has been no official report when that issue cropped up, I don’t know if there is now,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in Palace briefing.
Panelo, however, assured that the government is monitoring the contested areas.
“We are monitoring the area with respect to any violation…That’s the job of the National Security Council and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” he said.
Panelo, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, earlier claimed the latest China structure in the Kagitingan Reef would not affect the Philippines’ claims in the area, adding that the country should “be thankful” for the new facility.
The Chinese state-run Xinhua earlier reported that China has built a maritime rescue center in the Kagitingan Reef, which is part of the Kalayaan Island Group.
The Philippines and China are locked in maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea for years, but relations between the two nations improved under President Rodrigo Duterte.
China’s expansive claims covered almost all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. /gsg
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.