MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario confirmed Tuesday night reclamation activities undertaken by China in Kagitingan Reef, one of the disputed territories in the South China Sea.
In a chance interview before defending the DFA’s budget before the Senate, Del Rosario said the government has lodged a formal protest with China.
“We have already sent a note verbale on October 10 regarding that. We just checked. We looked at our records and discovered that a note verbale has already been sent,” Del Rosario said. “We are protesting the activity.”
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang who was also at the Senate, said the military, for its part, is trying to ascertain whether the ongoing activity involves the construction of an airstrip.
Earlier reports said the reclamation in Kagitingan Reef, also called Fiery Cross Reef, is already in the advanced stage and is believed intended for the construction of an airstrip.
“As of now, the DFA has the lead role in trying to find out whether indeed it’s an airstrip. So, whatever the findings of the DFA, we will just await their instructions, kung ano man ang kailangang gawin ng AFP (on what the AFP should do),” Catapang said.