MANILA — Another diplomatic protest against China’s reclamation in Kennan Reef (Hughes Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was lodged last week, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The protest was filed after the government confirmed the ongoing reclamation in the Kennan Reef, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose told reporters in a press briefing.
Issues on China’s reclamation operations has already been raised by President Aquino during the ASEAN Summit in Myanmar last month.
Several protest against China’s reclamation on Mabini Reef were also lodged earlier, though China has rejected the protest.
Following the Mabini Reef protest, the president also said that more Chinese ships were spotted in various areas including Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef and Gaven (Burgos) Reef.
The government is now seeing China’s ongoing land reclamation in five reefs including the Johnson South (Mabini) Reef, Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef, Hughes (Kennan) Reef, Gaven (Burgos) Reef and Eldad (Malvar) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, as a preparation for more land reclamation operations.
Earlier this year, the Philippines has also filed a 4,000-page memorial which specifies its claims and evidences against China’s nine-dash line.
The memorial which was submitted to a tribunal in Hague also argues against Beijing’s expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea.
The country’s maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea is based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Under this international law, maritime features like rocks and reefs are entitled to 12 nautical miles of territorial sea without an exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
In the case of the Mabini Reef, where China has already started their reclamation operation, DFA explained that the physical changes in the said reef — if the rock formation is turned into an island — may affect the country’s claim against China.
With reports from ABS-CBN News