20 May 2017

News Story: Chinese rocket launchers to be discussed at bilateral meet

China's Artificial Island built on Fiery Cross Reef (Sep 2015)
By Christina Mendez and Jaime Laude

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is looking at the possibility of calling the attention of China over reports that it installed rocket launchers on a disputed reef in the South China Sea.

According to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, the issue can be tackled or raised by the Philippine panel at the bicameral consultative mechanism set up by the Philippines and China that will be launched today in Guiyang, Guizhou province in Southwest China.

“I’m sure that will be opened up – that will be touched on,” Abella said without elaborating.

However, Philippine Ambassador to Beijing Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said the BCM meeting will focus on terms of reference, setting of agenda and assessment of the situation in the South China Sea, which will be the basis of talks between the two countries related to the sea disputes.

Location of Fiery Cross Reef
Based on reports, China has installed rocket launchers on a disputed reef in the South China Sea to ward off Vietnamese military combat divers.

China has said military construction on the islands it controls in the South China Sea will be limited to necessary defensive requirements, and that it can do what it likes on its own territory.

The United States has criticized what it called China’s militarization of its maritime outposts and stressed the need for freedom of navigation by conducting periodic air and naval patrols near them, which angered Beijing.

Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef is administered by China but is also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Read the full story at PhilStar