PH warns vs air restrictions over disputed seas

Posted at 08/19/14 12:51 PM

MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed fears that China will also impose air restrictions over the South China Sea including the West Philippine Sea as it scampers to actualize its claim over the entire area.

In a speech at the 51st founding anniversary at the National Defense College, del Rosario said: “We are seeing an increasing pattern of aggressive behavior and provocative actions on the part of China that seriously threaten the peace, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and over flight in the region."

He said China is imposing an expansionist agenda and is even "rushing to actualize its claim before the conclusion of the [Code of Conduct] and the handing down of a decision of the Arbitral Tribunal on the Philippine submission."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it will file another note verbale amid the latest incursion of Chinese vessels in Recto Bank or Reed Bank.

Besides the possible Air Defense Identification Zone that China may impose over South China Sea and the latest incident in Reed Bank, del Rosario also noted the following:

Illegal Chinese restrictions on Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) since 2012;

Reclamation activities and massive destruction of marine environment in Mabini Reef (Johnson Reef), Chigua Reef (McKennan and Hughes), Calderon Reef (Cuarteron Reef), and Burgos Reef (Gaven Reef);

Blockade resupply of provisions to PH personnel stationed in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Shoal);

The issuance of the new fisheries regulations in Hainan;

Violations of safety zones of the Galoc Oil Field, an on-going operational PH oil platform, located 60 KM (37 M) northwest of PH’s Palawan Province;

The imposition of a Fishing Ban in some parts of the South China Sea from 16 May to 01 August 2014; and

Unilateral placing of HD981 Oil Rig in the waters off Vietnam and use of force against Vietnam.

“The core issue here is China’s claim of indisputable sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea that is represented by the nine-dash line. This is an excessive and expansive claim which is a gross violation of international law,” del Rosario said.

The DFA earlier proposed a Triple Action Plan, which brings together initiatives that the Philippines and other claimant countries have been advocating for the past few years. This includes the cessation of several activities in the area.