MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday said flying inside the China-claimed territories in the West Philippine Sea to confirm the presence of its weather stations there may instigate armed confrontation.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted the government may never confirm if China has indeed built weather stations in contested islands in the West Philippine Sea.
“You need to go inside the territory that this particular country claims that it’s theirs. So you may have some problems there. It may even provoke something that we don’t want,” Panelo told reporters in a Palace briefing.
“They claim that it’s theirs but the arbitral ruling says it’s ours. Meanwhile, nobody seems to want to enforce it. That’s precisely why we are using the mechanism of diplomacy and negotiation,” he added.
China installed the weather stations on Kagitingan Reef, Subi Reef, and Panganiban Reef in the West Philippine Sea, a report by the South China Morning Post said early November, quoting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.