CHINA DEFIES ARBITRATION RULING; CONTINUES CONSTRUCTION IN SHOAL

Might is right?

CHINA DEFIES ARBITRATION RULING;
CONTINUES CONSTRUCTION IN SHOAL

By Manny Piñol

Surveillance photos of the Department of National Defense have confirmed that despite the recent ruling of the International Arbitration Tribunal declaring that the Scarborough Shoal belongs to the Philippines, China has continued its construction activities building what is apparently a military base.

President Rodrigo Duterte early today was shown photos of the Chinese vessels including what appeared to be dredgers operating in the Scarborough Shoal.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who briefed the President during a security conference in the Enclaves in Matina, Davao City at dawn today said that the latest surveillance photos were taken Sept. 3.

The photos which were shown to other members of the Cabinet and national security officials, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., showed Chinese vessels, including Coast Guard Patrol boats, in the Scarborough Shoal.

One of the huge vessels appeared to be a dredger, apparently used in turning the atolls into large military and naval facilities, including an airstrip.

Seeing the photos, President Duterte directed Sec. Yasay to summon the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines to confront her of the proofs of China’s continued activities in the area previously declared to be part of the country’s economic zone.

President Duterte, who has been very diplomatic in his approach in solving the West Philippine Sea row with China, was apparently displeased by the proofs of Chinese impunity in violating the International Arbitration ruling.

“Why is China treating us this way? Is it because we are a small country which does not have the capability of standing up to them militarily?,” he asked openly during the briefing.

The President said the West Philippine Sea issue could be one of the topics of his one-on-one meeting with American President Barack Obama during the ASEAN Conference in Laos on Sept. 7.

(Photos show the President being briefed by Sec. Lorenzana and the surveillance shots of the Chinese ships in the Scarborough Shoal taken Sept. 3 by DND surveillance planes.)

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