By Leslie D. Venzon
MANILA, June 17 (PNA) — Malacanang on Wednesday said the country is sticking to diplomatic means to address territorial row with China over parts of South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), noting that China reclamation activities are causing both political and environmental concerns.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made the statement amid reports that China is about to complete the reclamation work on some station islands off the Spratly Islands.
Lacierda said the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will begin the hearing the country’s petition to nullify China’s claim to Philippine territory in the South China Sea next month.
“We have taken the diplomatic track, we have taken the arbitration track. We have also taken the diplomatic track in the sense of coming up with the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. That code of conduct is now with China to look into,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Lacierda said the Philippines has already raised with the United Nations the environmental impact of China reclamation activities.
“I think that’s a concern which extends beyond the country claimants, beyond the Philippines and China… We are in a global village. We can feel the effects of environmental degradation,” he said.
The Palace official said nations thus should be concerned about the political and environmental impacts of China’s reclamation.
Apart from the Philippines and China, countries with varying claims in the controversial territory include Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan. (PNA)