Malacanang said that China intended to use reclaimed islands in the South China Sea as military bases and only friendly ties will prevent Beijing from using the arms buildup against the country.
“Whether or not we like it, they intended to use them as military bases. So, what do you want us to say?” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Roque was reacting to the Inquirer story, saying China has “finished transforming seven reefs claimed by the Philippines” in the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
“Right now, the posture of the President is to maintain close ties so they wouldn’t have reasons to use those arms in those islands,” Roque added. He also hopes no force will be used in the South China Sea.
“We’ll also continue to rely on the general prohibition on the use of force, which is also found under international law and we expect that China, being, not just a member of the United Nations, but also a member of the Security Council, will adhere to the prohibition on use of force,” he added.
Roque also said that the Philippines is relying on China’s obligation of good faith, as well as briefings on activities in contested waters.
“We know what ships are plying where. We know about the work. But the question is, what can you do? You can protest, and I think there is a protest already filed even before. What else can be done?” Roque said.