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PH gov’t in talks with China over alleged militarization of WPS

Malacañang on Thursday assured the public that the government has active mechanisms to discuss with China the issue on its alleged militarization of islands in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing belied critics’ claims that the Duterte administration is keeping mum on China’s reported military installations in the disputed territory.

Roque said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano informed him that the Philippine government raised the issue during its recent bilateral consultation mechanism with China.

“Secretary Cayetano himself told me not only did they protest, but in their bilateral mechanism where they discuss the problem in [WPS] they discussed the arms, construction of airport and the airplanes in those islands,” Roque said in the local dialect.

“All these were discussed then… That’s our mechanism,” he added.

Roque said the Duterte government is approaching the issue not only by means of a diplomatic protest, but through an “open, frank, candid, and frontal discussion” with China.

“It’s not just a protest. They conveyed our grave concern – frontal – in the mechanism formed for the issue [WPS],” he said.#