THE reported Chinese installation of high frequency radar and other facilities in the contested islands in the South China Sea (SCS) can be discussed in the bilateral consultative mechanism, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday.
But the Secretary explained the Philippines is also willing to discuss the issue multilaterally and find a solution.
“If you’re asking, do we address that (latest developments in SCS), yes sa bilateral consultative mechanism,” he said.
Cayetano stressed the Philippines is sensitive and careful “to bring the SCS discussion from positive note to mutual trust because if there is trust, it is easier to make a request.”
On Thursday, a US think tank said while attention in Asia has been distracted by the North Korean nuclear crisis in the past year, China has continued to install high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes on its man-made islands in the South China Sea.
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, satellite images showed that China has built facilities in the disputed SCS territory.
The United States and its allies oppose China’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea and their militarization given concerns Beijing plans to use them to deny access to strategic routes.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang in his regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday said “It’s completely normal for China to conduct peaceful construction and build essential defense equipment on its own sovereign territory.”