AFP expresses alarm over ongoing Chinese reclamation projects in West Philippine Sea

By on January 8, 2015

Chinese vessel in Ayungin Shoal (PNP/AFP Photo)
Chinese vessel in Ayungin Shoal (PNP/AFP Photo)

MANILA — Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Wednesday expressed alarm over an ongoing Chinese reclamation project in the West Philippine Sea.

He declined to give the exact location but said that the project is now 50 percent completed.

“It’s alarming in the sense that it could be used for purposes other than peaceful use,” Catapang said.

The AFP chief said that the Chinese are conducting another reclamation project which is estimated to be around one to two kilometers in the general area.

Catapang added that the project could not yet be classified as an air field but its length suggests that it could be one.

“We continue to monitor what’s happening in the West Philippine Sea, we are appraised on the situation. We know there is still ongoing reclamation,” he said.

Last September, Catapang said reclamations were observed in two reefs in the Kalayaan (Spratly) Island Group. One of these was on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, which is inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

While in May, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said reclamation was also observed on Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, where Philippine authorities suspect China is building a military facility.