PH to acquire new tech to verify missile deployment in WPS: Palace

MANILA The Philippine government is acquiring a new technology that will verify reports that China has deployed missile systems in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS), MalacaAang said Monday.

Latest media reports showed that China deployed missiles to (Kagitingan) Fiery Cross Reef, (Zamora) Subi Reef and (Panganiban) Mischief Reef within the past 30 days. Earlier reports said that China has installed a jamming device in one of the areas in the disputed waters.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not yet verified if reports of missile deployments are true but the government is exerting efforts to verify by acquiring a new technology according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

We still do not have the verification. I had a talk with the National Security Adviser (Esperon) and he told me that there's a technology that we need that we still don't have to be able to verify it for ourselves, Roque said in a Palace briefing.

He did not give further details about the kind of technology to be used or which country the Philippines will be acquiring it from.

I'm not sure from what country. He (Esperon) says that we're awaiting delivery but we don't have that capacity yet, Roque said.

Asking China

Roque said that while the government could get information about the reported missile deployment from third-party sources, it was best to confirm through first-party verification.

There's still a technology that is awaiting to verify everything. There is a way for verifying for ourselves, Roque said.

Roque said that the Philippine government was not closing its doors to asking China about the reported missile deployment but maintained that it will be for the DFA to carry out.

I'm not saying we're not going to ask China but the DFA will exercise all diplomatic initiatives and we leave it to the DFA, Roque said.

Last Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying neither confirmed nor denied the reported missile deployment but said that China's construction in the Spratly archipelago, including the deployment of necessary national defense facilities, is meant to protect China's sovereignty and security.

Roque stressed that the construction being done by China is not new construction since what China promised is that they would not make new reclamation or artificial islands.

Asked if this meant that China was allowed to build anything except new artificial islands, Roque said: I'm not saying it's okay, but that's the promise.

The promise was that as far as new reclamation and new artificial islands are concerned, Roque said.

No betrayal of trust

Roque, meanwhile, rejected claims that the reported missile deployment was a betrayal of trust since what China promised is not to construct artificial islands.

He assured anew that there are steps being undertaken by the Philippine government on the reported missile deployment.

Why is it a betrayal of trust? All diplomatic initiatives are being undertaken, Roque said.

According to Roque, President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself views the reported missile deployment from an overall perspective noting that reclamation started during the term of his predecessor former President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Nandiyan na yung mga isla na 'yun (Those islands have already been there) when we came in and it can't be denied that whether or not China would admit it, it would be used for military purposes, Roque said.

Ang sinasabi nga ng Presidente (What the President is saying) is we're trying to do the best that we can under existing circumstances. We are exploring all diplomatic options, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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