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PH gov’t will talk to China about Chinese bombers in WPS, Palace assures

Malacañang on Monday reassured the public that the government is not taking the alleged Chinese militarization of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) sitting down, as it expressed serious concern over the reported landing of Chinese bombers in the disputed territory.

“We have no independent verification. Nonetheless, we take note of the reports that appeared and we express our serious concerns anew on its impact on constructive efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said in a Palace press briefing.

The Cabinet Secretary belied claims that the administration is merely waiting for China to expand its militarization of the WPS. On the contrary, he said the government is exerting all diplomatic means to address the matter.

For one, Roque noted that the issue concerning the Chinese bombers will be brought up during the country’s Bilateral Consultation Mechanism with China sometime this year.

He also pointed to the statement that was adopted by the Philippines, along with other member-states, during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore, which reiterates the call for non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the WPS.

“The Philippines reaffirms the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, avoid actions that could escalate tensions, and [pursue] peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS],” Roque further stated.

On the other hand, he clarified that the government does not consider China as a threat to the country’s national security, especially now that the Philippines has a “newfound friendship with China.”

Reports came out Sunday that China has landed long-range nuclear-capable H-6K bombers in the Paracels Islands at the disputed South China Sea. China’s air force said bombers such as the H-6K had landed and taken off from islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of training exercises last week. #