MANILA, Jul 5, 2019, PhilStar. The United States’ top diplomat in Manila has slammed China for test-firing missiles in the South China Sea, saying such action was “provocative” and “inconsistent with international law and practices”, reported the Philippine Star.
Ambassador Sung Kim said the US has been urging countries to refrain from taking aggressive and unilateral actions that could imperil regional and global stability.
“We have stated our position very clear for quite some time now and I believe our friends in the Philippines agree that countries including China should refrain from such actions,” he said at the US Independence Day and Philippine-American Friendship Day reception Wednesday night in Makati.
In a report quoting an unnamed US official, international news agencies said China had test-fired anti-ship ballistic missiles from artificial islands in the South China Sea. “It’s clear that countries should behave according to international law and practices. In fact, China has indicated that it would stop militarization but obviously that has not happened,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Department of National Defense (DND) said it would investigate the missile tests but admitted it had nothing in its hands but news reports.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he is aware of the reported missile tests but sees no need to convene the security cluster.
“I just talked to DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs). I just talked to (Defense Secretary Delfin) Lorenzana. I don’t think we have to convene formally the security cluster,” Esperon told reporters at the Independence Day reception.
“I don’t think we have to do it. We have actually met last June 17 to talk about some issues. There’s no issue that necessitates another meeting of the security cluster even on terrorism because in the council itself we have a mechanism for coordination,” he said.
At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said they would wait for the DND to finish its investigation of the reported missile tests before announcing its stand on the issue.
“We will investigate on our own. We will do it our way,” Panelo said when asked if there is a need to coordinate with Beijing any inquiry into the matter.
“We will investigate then we will make our official stand. We will not rely on the say-so of whatever source,” he said.