The Philippines is reportedly looking to lodge a protest against China’s alleged presence of two military aircraft on a Chinese-built island in the South China Sea.
According to Reuters, the potential complaint arrives amid concern that China is militarizing the waterway.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reportedly published pictures showing two Chinese military transport aircraft (Xian Y-7 transport planes) on the tarmac of Mischief Reef on Wednesday. The photos were reportedly taken in January.
Reuters notes that “[t]he reef is the closest of the artificial islands that China has developed to the Philippines and within its 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone.”
The move shows Beijing is growing more assertive as a dominant power in the disputed waterway.
“Filing a protest is one of the diplomatic actions being considered, pending a confirmation from the defense department,” Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano reportedly said. He reportedly added, “Many claimants are putting embankments, radar and other defensive mechanisms – the challenge now is how to stop it and roll it back.”
Last month, Breitbart News reported that “A photo taken by the commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe in March and obtained by the [Wall Street] Journal supports the revelation that China installed military jamming equipment on the Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef of the Spratly Islands over the last 90 days.”
In March, Breitbart News reported that the United States’ USS Mustin American destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, prompting Beijing to claim that “China holds indisputable sovereignty over the islands and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea.”
According to Reuters, China and Southeast Asian countries began negotiations about creating a code of conduct in the South China Sea in Vietnam last month.