China has explained that the defense facilities being constructed on the disputed Kagitingan Reef or Yongshu Reef in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are not directed at any country.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson Lu Kang made this comment in reaction to Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement that the Philippines would lodge a diplomatic protest if reports that China was militarizing the reclaimed Kagitingan Reef were true.
“China’s peaceful construction on its territory aims to make greater contributions to regional peace, navigation safety, disaster prevention and relief, maritime search and rescue and maritime scientific research,” Lu said in a regular press briefing in Beijing Tuesday.
“Certainly, China also needs to construct necessary defense facilities for its own territory, which are not directed at any country,” he added.
Lu said China and the Philippines, as friendly close neighbors, would maintain unimpeded dialogue and communication on maritime-related issues.
“The Chinese side stands ready to continue stepping up communication with the Philippine side so as to eliminate misunderstanding and enhance mutual trust,” he said.
Malacanang said Tuesday the Philippines was still relying on China’s good faith that the Chinese government would not embark on new reclamation activities in the WPS, known in China as the South China Sea.
“When we say we are relying on China’s good faith, it is because China has committed not to embark on new reclamations,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Roque explained that Kagitingan was one of the islands that China had already reclaimed and the subject of the arbitral tribunal’s decision that the island was within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
“So when we invoke the good faith of China, it is against making further reclamations and not making further works on islands that it had already reclaimed,” Roque said.
“So I hope that is very clear. So the good faith we’re relying on is the commitment of China not to embark on new reclamations,” he added (PNA)