By Mei Jingya, Sina English
Philippine GMA News network reported on September 3 that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is verifying reports that China is building new structures on Mischief Reef (Chinese Meiji Reef), and will act appropriately as soon as it confirms the report.
DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said on Monday that DFA is verifying the information and the photo with the Department of National Defense. If confirmed, Manila will act appropriately, but he added “We will wait until we have verified it.”
According to the report, if China is indeed fortifying structures on the reef, such move could be seen as a violation of a “non-binding code of conduct” signed by Beijing and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN).
The Philippine Star reported on Monday that Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of think tank Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said China built new structures on Meiji Reef, including a windmill, solar panels, a concrete platform suitable for use as a helipad and a basketball court.
With the territorial dispute between China and Philippines entering the sixth month, Manila never stops making groundless and untrue accusations despite that it claims it is actively seeking peaceful solutions.
Regarding the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, which Beijing and ASEAN members signed 10 years ago, Chinese foreign ministry said the Declaration was signed to call on all claimant countries to join hands in maintaining regional peace rather than to provide solutions.
The Foreign Ministry also stressed that China has indisputable sovereignty over islands and adjacent waters in the South Sea. On the other hand, ASEAN said, as a regional organization, it doesn’t take a position on any particular dispute, which should be solved through peaceful negotiations by claimants.