DFA not aware of China plan to seize Pag-asa Island
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) declined to comment on a recent Chinese news report saying that the Chinese navy has drawn battle plans to seize Pag-asa Island from the Philippines in 2014.
“I’m not aware of any plans of China to take over Pag-asa Island this year,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a press conference Monday.
“We usually don’t comment on reports that come out in the media but we do comment on official pronouncements by governments all over the world that would affect the interest of the country,” he said.
China Daily Mail said in a report posted on January 11 that the Chinese navy already has a combat plan to take what it calls Zhongye Island.
The article says that the Philippines has illegally occupied the island for years.
“According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea,” the article said.
“The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China,” it said. “There will be no invasion into Filipino territories.”
The source of the report was said to be from a Chinese article in qianzhan.com entitled “Sudden major move of Chinese troops this year to recover Zhongye Island by force.”
Pag-asa Island is the largest island occupied by the Philippines in the Spratly group of Islands. The area has been the subject of territorial disputes between the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The population of Pag-asa Island is around 200 at any one time and it has a 1.4-kilometer airstrip to allow for military and civilian aircraft to land.