All the recent developments in the heavily disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS) in South China Sea are being closely monitored by the Department of National Defense (DND).
This was the assurance given by DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong after new high-resolution images of reclamation works in artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea showed its progressing militarization in that part of Asia.
“We are constantly monitoring activities being undertaken in the West Philippine Sea through the conduct of legitimate and aerial patrols,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said.
Last week, Filipino photographer Ezra Acayan uploaded on social media new gripping images showing fully developed airfields, buildings, recreational facilities and other structures in China’s artificial islands in Spratly Islands, South China Sea or locally known as Kalayaan Island Group. See photos here:
Airfields, buildings, recreational facilities, and other structures are seen on the artificial islands built by China in these pictures taken on October 25, 2022 in the Spratly Islands, South China Sea. China has progressively asserted its claim of ownership over disputed islands in the South China Sea by artificially increasing the size of islands, creating new islands and building ports, military outposts and airstrips. The South China sea is an important trade route and is of significant interest as geopolitical tensions remain high in the region.
The photos were taken on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, Calderon (Cuarteron) Reef, Zamora (Subi) Reef, Burgos (Gaven) Reefs, and McKennan (Hughes) Reef last Oct. 25 for online news and media website Getty Images.
“China has progressively asserted its claim of ownership over disputed islands in the South China Sea by artificially increasing the size of islands, creating new islands and building ports, military outposts and airstrips,” Acayan said.
“We have also deployed troops to ensure the well-being of our citizens in the municipality of Kalayaan,” the defense official added, referring to the lone municipality on Pagasa Island in Kalayaan, Palawan where a Filipino community resides.
The Philippine government took China to court due to its excessive claims in the South China Sea which includes what is now known as the West Philippine Sea.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected Beijing’s nine-dash line claims in South China Sea based on their historical rights, giving the Philippines a legally-binding document to assert its claims in the West Philippine Sea.
However, the Chinese government refused to honor the tribunal ruling and continues to conduct reclamation works in the South China Sea.