Philippines plans military hub, sea cameras amid China row

Philippines plans military hub, sea cameras amid China row

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the newly constructed beach-ramp at Philippine-held Pag-Asa island, also known as Thitu island, in the Spratly archipelagos during a visit of Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, on June 9, 2020. (Photo by Department of National Defense Philippines (DND) / AFP)
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the newly constructed beach-ramp at Philippine-held Pag-Asa island, also known as Thitu island, in the Spratly archipelagos during a visit of Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, on June 9, 2020. (Photo by Department of National Defense Philippines (DND) / AFP)

The Philippines plans to convert a South China Sea island into a military hub amid rising tensions with China.

The Philippine military will ask President Rodrigo Duterte to fund a logistics hub on Thitu Island, its chief General Cirilito Sobejana said, as the nation seeks to sustain patrols in the South China Sea. It’s also planning to place high-resolution, night-capable cameras to monitor activities around islands claimed by the Philippines, he said.

“Our objective is to drive away Chinese maritime militia and other Chinese vessels from our exclusive economic zone,” Sobejana told CNN Philippines Monday.

China can resolve the dispute with the Philippines through their “common consensus to have dialogue and consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing Monday in Beijing, when asked about the Philippine military’s plan. Certain people are stirring up the issue, she added, without elaborating.

Tensions between the Philippines and China in the disputed waters have escalated over the past weeks, with Manila protesting and asking Chinese vessels to leave the area. Still, Duterte has maintained a friendly tone, calling China a “benefactor” as the Philippines sources coronavirus vaccines from Beijing.

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