TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the country will launch a formal diplomatic protest against China if reports of Chinese weather stations operating on man-made islands in disputed waters of the South China Sea turn out to be true.
“Certainly, the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] will do its work and make the necessary diplomatic protest,” said Panelo on Nov. 5, reported government-run Philippine News Agency.
The South China Morning Post reported on Nov. 1 that China had begun operation of three weather stations on Fiery Cross, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. The stations have potential to be used for military operations, but Beijing insists they will be used for weather readings and to improve safety in the area.
“These are news reports. We have not validated that. But if they are validated, I’m sure the new Secretary of foreign Affairs will do his job,” said Panelo.
In July 2016, Permanent Court of Arbitration declared China has no legal basis to claim resources within the South China Sea, in relation to a dispute brought forth by the Philippines.
In order to maintain relations between the two countries, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has not yet actioned the ruling, but has committed to doing so before the end of his term in 2022.
Panelo added that it was not too late to bring up the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling against China, in assertion of Philippine interests in the disputed waters.