Philippines objects to new runway in South China Sea

Philippine government opposes China’s test flight over new runway in disputed Spratly Islands

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

The Philippines has objected to Beijing’s recent test on the newly constructed runway on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, following Vietnam’s example by lodging an official complaint.

Charles Jose, department of Foreign Affairs spokesman has said that Philippines is thinking about following Vietnam’s example in protesting against the flight test, pointing out that the test at Fiery Cross Reef "adds to tension and uncertainties in the region."

China refused to accept Vietnam’s protest even though the Hanoi government said that the test violated its sovereignty.

As the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated, the civil aircraft was deployed to test if the new facilities comply with the civil-aviation standards.

Tension continues between China, Vietnam and the Philippines over sea territories, which are possibly rich in oil or gas, where Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also demand privileges.

The United States also expressed concern over China making reefs into island in the area, fearing the possible usage of military force by Beijing.

The US has obtained a guided missile destroyer near the Subi Reef, an action not well fronted by Beijing, which has warned Washington not to act similarly in the future.

State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala, said that countries claiming rights in the islands should “actively reduce tensions.”

“We are concerned that these test flights have exacerbated tensions and are inconsistent with the region’s commitments to exercise restraint from actions that could complicate or escalate disputes,” she said.

Even so, China says that constructing in the area is the country’s right.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China will not accept the unfounded accusation from the Vietnamese side,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chinying said.

TRTWorld and agencies