“For whom are those search-and-rescue facilities for?” This was the reaction of Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez when asked to comment on the Chinese plans to construct facilities on the artificial islands it constructed in the disputed portion of the South China Sea.
“Is it for our ships and installations that they are threatening to destroy?” he added.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua earlier said Beijing is set to construct facilities on its artificial islands to support freedom of navigation, search and rescue efforts in case of accidents, and scientific research.
“Regardless of what supposedly ‘good’ details the Chinese leadership informs the peace-focused and rules-based international community, they illegally and blatantly continue with their aggression as these are mere elements of their island building militarization which needs to be stopped and be dismantled,” Galvez stressed.
The DND spokesperson said that this proposal by China is what the Philippines has been warning the international community about.
He added that it become all too evident that the Chinese leadership had no intention of honoring its commitment to the ASEAN Declaration of Conduct in 2002 all along.
“They’ve said one thing and have done another. They are simply trying to cover their tracks. This is the worst stage of all, this is the militarization stage, and it must be stopped, otherwise, it will be the tipping point that will plunge the entire region including the peace loving Chinese communities into a deeper and irreversible crisis,” Galvez stressed.