By Alexis Romero
MANILA, Philippines - The defense department is verifying reports that China is continuously building military structures on disputed areas in the South China Sea despite improved ties with the Philippines.
New satellite images published by Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies-Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (CSIS-AMTI) show that China has built new missile shelters, communication facilities, radar and other structures on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Panganiban (Mischief) and Zamora (Subi) reefs. These are areas that are being claimed by the Philippines.
The report about China’s expansion in the South China Sea came even as Manila and Beijing vowed to enhance diplomatic ties, which had been strained because of the maritime dispute.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said his agency is validating if the structures in the satellite photos are really new.
“We are still studying if there are additional (defense facilities),” Lorenzana said in a chance interview yesterday in Malacañang.
“Based on the CSIS photo that I saw, nothing much has changed. But the experts are looking at it now,” he added.
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