Philippine Secretary of Defense said China intends to occupy more of the South China Sea

Manila — Philippine Secretary of Defense tries to occupy more area in the South China Sea on Sunday because of the continued presence of Chinese vessels, which Manila believes militias are stationed in strategic waterway conflict areas. He said he was.

In a statement, Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana used the local name of the South China Sea to indicate that “the continued presence of Chinese maritime militia in the region indicates that it intends to further occupy the (region) of the Western Philippine Sea. There are. “

It was a two-day statement from Lorenzana that repeatedly called for Chinese boats from the Philippines to leave Wit Sun Reef, which Manila calls Julian Felipe Reef in the 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

Chinese diplomats have boats moored near coral reefs (more than 200 based on initial information gathered by Philippine patrols) protected from rough seas and no militia on board. Said.

Philippines South China Sea
On March 7, 2021, some of the 220 Chinese vessels can be seen moored at the Whitson Reef in the South China Sea. (Philippine Coast Guard / National Task Force-West Philippine Sea via AP)

On Saturday, Lorenzana said there were still 44 Chinese vessels on Wit Sun Reef, despite improved weather conditions.

“I’m not an idiot. The weather has been nice so far, so there’s no reason to stay there,” he said.

The Chinese embassy in Manila responded to Lorenzana’s comment that it was “perfectly normal” for Chinese vessels to fish in the area and evacuate near coral reefs in rough sea conditions. “No one has the right to make unjustified statements about such activities,” he added.

An international court invalidated the Chinese administration’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, but Beijing rejected the ruling and built an artificial island in conflict areas equipped with radar, missile batteries, and fighter hangers. Did.

“They had previously done this at Panatag Shawl, Bahode Machine Rock and Pangani Van Reef, and bravely violated Philippine sovereignty and sovereignty under international law,” Lorenzana said in a statement on Sunday. Stated.

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