Lorenzana: Philippines should protest China rescue center in Spratlys | Global News

Lorenzana: Philippines should protest China rescue center in Spratlys

/ 03:08 PM February 04, 2019

Lorenzana: Philippines should protest China rescue center in Spratlys

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. PHOTO by Frances Mangosing / INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines should protest China’s establishment of a maritime rescue center on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In a turnaround, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he agreed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s call to contest the construction of the rescue station.


“Initially, I said ‘what’s wrong with the rescue stations?’ in a way that’s for humanitarian purposes…But I think I agree with Secretary of Foreign Affairs that we should protest only because we don’t want them to keep building things there…and it will become theirs,” he said at a forum at the National Defense College of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.


“We should protest to let them know any development they continue to do there is protested by us because we believe Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross and all the islands they built there within our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) is under our EEZ,” he said.

Last week, China announced that it had launched a maritime rescue center on Kagitingan Reef, one of its seven man-made bases in the Spratly Islands.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Locsin said he would “not contest, but protest” the construction of the rescue center, but preferred to do it on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly.

“And we will. I, however, preferred engaging them openly on the floor of the UN General Assembly,” he said.

Malacañang earlier said that the Philippines should be “thankful” for the rescue facility.

China claims nearly all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea, including waters close to the shores of its Southeast Asian neighbors the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, all of which have claims in the strategic waterway.


Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also called for the need to protest China’s recent activity as the occupation and use of the islands are acts of sovereignty.

“If we impliedly or agree to such act of administration by China, we are helping China strengthen their sovereignty claim to Fiery Cross to our own prejudice,” he said. /je

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TAGS: China, Fiery Cross Reef, Kagitingan, latest news, Philippines, Protest‎, South China Sea, Spratlys, West Philippine Sea

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