Philippines 'still verifying' missile deployment by China in West Philippine Sea: Roque
The Philippine government is still verifying reported deployment of missiles on the three features occupied by China in West Philippine Sea.
“Let me begin by saying we are still verifying. Everything that we have read on the papers is based on a US media report, which really we should not completely rely on, okay. So we are first verifying if it is true, and we have not had any verification,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Davao City on Saturday.
Roque admitted that militarization in the “West Philippine Sea is worrisome”.
“If it is verified of course, we view it with much concern, because any form of militarization of, really, in the West Philippine Sea is worrisome given that it is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. Okay, so that is our concern. It is a concern common to the international community,” he said.
On Thursday, although Hua Chunying, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, did not confirm the reported deployment of missiles on their occupied features in Spratly Islands, she said China’s construction and deployment of defense facilities in the area meant to secure their sovereignty.
“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. Our peaceful construction activities on the Nansha Islands, including the deployment of necessary national defense facilities, are meant to safeguard China's sovereignty and security, which is also the rights a sovereign state is entitled to,” said Hua.
“The relevant deployment targets no one. Anyone with no invasive intention will find no reason to worry about this. We hope that the relevant party could view this matter in an objective and calm way,” she added.
“I must stress that China is a big country in terms of trade, and also a staunch champion of regional peace and stability. We will continue to work with all countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” she noted. Robina Asido/DMS