MANILA, -- The Philippine government on Friday slammed powerhouse China over the latter’s reported deployment of surface-to-air missiles in one of the disputed islands in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the country was “gravely concerned” by recent reports, noting that such actions “negate China’s earlier commitment not to militarize the South China Sea.”
“These developments further erode trust and confidence and aggravate the already tense situation in the region. It is a clear violation of the [declaration of the conduct of parties] and other relevant [Association of Southeast Asian Nations]-China Declarations and Statements,” the DFA said in a statement.
“They put into question the good faith of China to work with Asean for the early conclusion of the [code of conduct], and to cooperate in the efforts of all parties to find ways forward on the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas],” it added.
Fox News first reported on Tuesday that China had deployed a surface-to-air missile system on Woody Island of the Paracels chain, one of the disputed areas in the region.
Citing images from a civilian firm, the report said two batteries of eight missile launchers and a radar system arrived on the island within the past week.
President Benigno Aquino III has just returned from the United States for the special summit between the US and Asean, where he called on the international community, China included, to respect the United Nations arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea dispute.
A decision on the Philippines’ arbitration case against Beijing is expected by midyear