Philippines taking “diplomatic action” after Chinese bombers landed on islands

Vastavam web: The Philippines is taking “appropriate diplomatic action” to assert its claims in the South China Sea after Chinese bombers landed on islands and reefs in the disputed region, the foreign ministry in Manila said on Monday.China’s air force said bombers such as the H-6K had landed and taken off from islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of training exercises last week, drawing angry reactions from opposition lawmakers in Manila. The United States also sent ships to the disputed areas.“We reiterate our commitment to protect every single inch of our territory and areas which we have sovereign rights over,” the statement said.

However, the foreign ministry stopped short of condemning China’s action, which Washington said could raise tensions and destabilise the region.China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which about $3 trillion worth of sea-borne goods passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims in the area.Beijing says its military facilities in the Spratlys are purely defensive and that it can do what it likes on its own territory.

Filipino lawmakers have criticised President Rodrigo Duterte for not confronting China in preference for his attempts to win China’s friendship, despite a favourable ruling Manila received over the disputed waterway from an arbitration court in the Hague in 2016.