Malacañang: China’s reported continued island building needs to be proven

“It would be best if this apparent evidence can be vetted for accuracy, if only to preserve the trust and confidence that all disputants over the territory in South China Sea.. West Philippine, North Natuna Seas need – to have in each other going forward,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in today’s press briefing.

The spokesperson’s statement was made after Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) released photos to prove that China did not halt reclaiming land in South China Sea.

“China’s own reclamation work did not end in mid-2015 with the completion of its artificial islands in the Spratlys,” AMTI said. China continued island building in Paracel Islands.

“The South China Sea doesn’t only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilizing,” it added. AMTI made Tree Island and North Island as examples.

AMTI is active in monitoring Chinese activities in West Philippine Sea and the entire South China Sea. AMTI was conceived of and designed by Washington-based think tank CSIS.

“The continuing reclamation and militarization of disputed territory in these waters, if the report and photos from a Washington-based think-tank are accurate, these can be taken up in ASEAN, by the ASEAN in future discussions,” Abella added. “So we defer to ASEAN.”