PH watchful for more China reclamation moves

Posted at 06/13/14 6:54 PM

MANILA - A Palace spokesperson on Friday remained mum on reports that China is carrying out land reclamation operations in not just one but a total of five areas in the disputed Spratly Islands.

China already has a presence in the Mabini Reef, Calderon Reef, Gaven Reef, Ayungin Shoal, Scarborough Shoal and parts of the Kalayaan Island Group.

The Philippine Star, meanwhile, reported about land reclamation activities of China in five areas, namely Johnson South (Mabini) Reef, Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef, Hughes (Kennan) Reef, Gaven (Burgos) Reef and Eldad (Malvar) Reef.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said she is aware of the reports. She said the reclamation activities are designed to push China's nine-dash line.

"That I will have to check with our military. I am aware of the reports. The President did mention, pretty recently, about movements that have been monitored in Calderon Reef. But I am not quite certain about the other two that have been mentioned, but we will check with the military," she said.

Valte said the arbitration case the Philippines filed against China will resolve questions over the validity of China's nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters.

"We have chosen those tracks - the legal, the political, as well as the diplomatic - and we will stick to that. Again, we will not respond to provocative acts."

The spokeswoman said she will leave it to international law experts to say if the facilities China constructed will fall under Philippine ownership should the Philippines win the arbitration case.

She also declined to comment on former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez's claims that the reclamation activities may lead to further claims into Philippine territory and airspace,

"Iyong delineation on what a country owns, 'yung pababa at 'yung pataas, is very clearly delineated, especially when it comes to airspace. So I have not read that particular blog entry of former [security adviser] Roilo Golez. So I would not comment any further but, at least, at this juncture, I can say that what a country has power over or at least has jurisdiction over is also very clearly delineated, especially 'yung airspace na nasa taas mismo 'nung bansa."