MANILA, Philippines – China believes the Philippine plan to relocate major air force and navy bases to the former US naval base in Subic Bay in the West Philippine Sea is aimed at increasing pressure on it and bringing in more outside forces to the region.
In a report in the state-owned newspaper China Daily, Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Philippines is building up and concentrating military forces near the South China Sea to target China.
“If all related parties resort to military means as Manila has for a resolution, the region will surely become a powder keg,” Li said.
Li sees the move as a violation of the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and increases the risk of conflict in the region, the report added.
At the 46th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting in Brunei, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the persistence of destabilizing actions in the West Philippine Sea continues to pose serious challenges for the whole region and is a violation of the DOC.