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Thursday, March 26, 2015, 17:37

Philippines to resume South China Sea works

By Agencies
Philippines to resume South China Sea works
This photo taken on June 7, 2014 shows the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Ramon Alacraz anchored at the mouth of the South China Sea in Ulugan Bay off Puerto Princesa on Palawan island. (AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE)

MANILA - The Philippines said on Thursday it would resume repair and reconstruction works in the disputed South China Sea after halting activities last year over concerns about the effect on an arbitration complaint filed against China.

Manila had called on all countries last October to stop construction work on small islands and reefs in the South China Sea, virtually all of which is claimed by China.

China is undertaking massive reclamation works in the area, while Malaysia and Vietnam have also been making improvements to their facilities.

"We are taking the position that we can proceed with the repair and maintenance," Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario told diplomats, military officers and foreign correspondents on Thursday.

He said the works, including repairs to an airstrip, did not violate an informal code of conduct in the South China Sea because they would not alter the status quo in the disputed area. The 2002 code was signed by China and 10 Southeast Asian states in Phnom Penh.

In 2013, Manila filed an arbitration case at the The Hague questioning Beijing's "nine-dash-line" claims. Del Rosario said Manila expects a decision in February next year.

 
 
 
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