PH Navy monitoring Vietnam's island-building in South China Sea

PH Navy monitoring Vietnam's island-building in South China Sea This is from news selected image.

The Philippine Navy (PN) said Monday it is monitoring the dredging and landfill work of Vietnam in the South China Sea, which is being done within what the Philippines claims to be part of the Kalayaan Island Group.

PN spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is also taking action regarding the matter.

“Nakatutok naman tayo doon [we’re monitoring that], but I believe the more appropriate agency to give the details of that would be DFA. May action naman ang DFA doon [the DFA is doing actions regarding that],” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

Even as the Philippines and China continue to spar over the territory, Vietnam has been conducting dredging operations of reefs it occupies in the South China Sea.

The Barque Canada Reef has reportedly doubled in size to 412 acres from its former 238 acres land area. Expansion and construction are also happening at Discovery Great Reef, Namyit Island and Pearson Reef.

In total, Vietnam has been able to reclaim a total of 692 acres or 280 hectares in the last six months.

Despite being outside the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone, these territories are being claimed by Manila which maintains these are part of the Kalayaan Island Group.

Historically, Trinidad said that Vietnam has the most claims in the South China Sea among the seven claimant-countries, including the Philippines.

“Nagkataon lamang that Vietnam and the Philippines have friendly relations. Hindi sila nagko-conduct ng mga illegal, coercive, aggressive, at deceptive actions laban sa atin unlike sa ginagawa ng China,” he said.

(It just so happens that Vietnam and the Philippines have friendly relations. Vietnam does not initiate illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions against us unlike China.)

“So kung maintindihan natin ang history ng South China Sea, makikita natin na of the seven claimant countries, ang pinaka-aggressive sa atin is China,” he added.

(If we pay attention to the history of the South China Sea, we would see that China is the most aggressive against us out of the seven claimant-countries.)

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal said the Philippines has previously protested Vietnam’s island building in the Kalayaan Island Group.

For the part of the Philippine Coast Guard, spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela also said that Vietnamese do not harass Filipino fishermen and illegally deploy ships to surround Philippine outposts in the region.

He also said that Vietnam began reclaiming the maritime features they occupied before the 2002 Declaration of Conduct. —KBK, GMA Integrated News

This article PH Navy monitoring Vietnam's island-building in South China Sea was originally published in GMA News Online.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/national/ph-navy-monitoring-vietnam-s-island-building-in-south-china-sea/ar-BB1nVI0U?ocid=00000000

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