Philippines Announces Major Construction In Disputed South China Sea

Reacting to Lorenzana and Año's trip to Pag-asa, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Friday that this "runs counter to the important consensus" reached by Manila and Beijing "to properly deal with the South China Sea issue".

He said China and Vietnam have already fortified islands they occupy and the Philippines was the only one that has not yet done so, even though Filipino troops have been stationed on Pag-asa since the late 1960s.

But in his speech before Filipino workers in Riyadh, the President took the opportunity to "correct" himself and said he is abandoning this plan after China had warned him that such a move would heighten tension among competing countries.

THE CHINESE Foreign Ministry has "lodged representations" with its counterparts in Manila after a delegation of Philippine defence and military staff paid a visit to the disputed Spratly island of Thitu on Friday.

China claims most of the South China Sea, including Thitu island which Lorenzana visited and the Philippines calls Pag-asa island.

In an interview with reporters, General Eduardo Ano said the armed forces had received sketchy reports of a group of Filipinos being driven away from Union Bank in the Spratlys, near Gaven Reef, on which China has built an island.

"We call for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety", they added.

The Philippines and China forged diplomatic ties in 1975 during the term of President Ferdinand Marcos, who opened formal links a year later with at the time the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.

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"As you can see Subi Reef, it has been developed and we have lagged behind".

Of the amount, P1.2 billion will be for the fix of the 1.3-kilometer runway of Rancudo Airfield, and P400 million for the construction of a fish port.

Once a strictly military installation, Pag-asa Island was opened to civilian settlement in 2002. "We all know that China is the most powerful country in our neighborhood, they are economically powerful, also militarily", Lorenzana said.

Angara is referring to Senate Bill No. 944, which seeks to declare Pag-asa Island cluster in the Municipality of Kalayaan, province of Palawan as an eco-tourism destination and protected area.

The seven other islands controlled by the Philippines in the Spratly's would each get a PHP20 million booster to develop new structures, he added. China won't attend as it is not a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but a wider regional summit is scheduled in November that includes both China and the U.S.

China claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of goods pass annually.

In a study commissioned by think tank Stratbase ADRi (ADRi), Lagman pointed out that based on ecological considerations, such as the duration of pelagic larvae, surface circulation patterns, and seasonability of adults and larvae, the Spratlys are among the few remaining healthy, resource-rich areas and habitats in the West Philippine Sea and can thus benefit from multi-state intervention.

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