South China Sea Tensions: Claimant Asserts Freedom of Navigation Against China
South China Sea tensions continue to rise as claimants to the disputed regions step up their efforts to maintain rights. The Philippines is asserting freedom of navigation against China.
The Philippines called out China’s construction of new runways in the South China Sea as a “violation” of laws. “The building of additional runways contributes to heightened tensions in the region. We reiterate that these actions by China violate not only pertinent international laws but also the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea of which China is a signatory along with the member countries of Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations],” said Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. via Manila Times.
The official added that the Philippine government is adamant in asserting freedom of navigation over the disputed region. The Department of Foreign Affairs already submitted a diplomatic protest concerning China’s test flights over the Kagitingan Reef to which the Philippines is claiming rights over, according to the official.
Coloma’s statement comes after US think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative revealed China’s more aggressive construction in the area despite opposition from the West. It is expected that Beijing will finish another two runaways that will be incorporated with its newly operational landing strip along the Fiery Cross.
China, who is in the middle of the global concern over the South China Sea , also needs to deal with Taiwan as a top security issue. According to Reuters, Taiwan weighs more considerably than any territorial claims Beijing may have at the moment. China has maintained a measured approach in terms of Taiwan’s independence although it did reiterate opposition to it. Experts believe the future is uncertain.
“The front line forces are like a tiger who has grown wings,” Reuters quoted lieutenant general and former deputy commander of China’s Nanjing military region Wang Hongguang.
“Tsai Ing-wen and her Taiwan independence forces shouldn’t think they’ll get away with it. The mainland will not swallow the bitter fruit of Taiwan independence.”