Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano on Sunday expressed alarm over the launch of China’s 140-meter long, 28-meter wide dredging vessel Tian Kun Hao, pointing out the threat it may pose to the Philippines’ claim over territories in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Alejano said the Tian Kun Hao, which Chinese media calls “Asia’s most powerful island maker,” is in itself alarming.
“It would make it easier for China to build artificial islands and reclaim more reefs,” he said.
“Take for instance what China did when it reclaimed its seven reefs in 2013 to 2016. Given the earlier aggressive reclamation activities of China, one cannot help but be alarmed [by] what this massive dredger could do,” he added.
The Tian Kun Hao is reported to have a deck the size of nine basketball courts and be capable of dredging up to 6,000 cubic meters an hour and digging as deep as 35 meters under the sea floor.
It is also reportedly equipped with an advanced global positioning system.
Alejano said this advancement in China’s maritime technology, as well as the recently discovered extensive construction of facilities in the Paracel Islands, only further shows its renewed determination to assert its interest in the West Philippine Sea.