Beijing slammed the Philippines’ plan of installing a flight-tracking system on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, insisted in a press briefing that China’s “indisputable sovereignty” in the Spratly Islands or Nansha in Chinese, includes the Philippine-claimed Pagasa Island, which they called Zhongye Dao.
“Any activity by the Philippine side on China’s territory it has occupied is illegal and cannot cover up the illegal nature of its encroachment,” Lei said.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, they received a radio warning from the People’s Liberation Army Navy when they flew over Pag-asa Island last January 7.
“Foreign military, this is the Chinese Navy. You are threatening the security of our station,” the message said.
The CAAP team ignored the PLA Navy’s warning and land on the island, where they study a place for a possible site to set up satellite capable of monitoring aircraft positions.
But Hong Lei refuted the allegation saying it is a “plot” to increase pressure.
“The Philippine side made relevant remarks with the ulterior motive of sensationalizing the situation and playing up the tension. Their plot will not work,” he said.
Pag-asa has a population of about 200, it is the biggest Philippine-claimed Island in the Spratlys. -John Esconde