Manila (dpa) – The Philippines is alarmed by reports that China is planning to construct an observation network by 2020 to protect its maritime interests.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Saturday that such a move might heighten tensions in the South China Sea where China and its Southeast Asian neighbours, including the Philippines, have overlapping territorial claims.
The China Daily reported on Friday that China plans to set up an offshore observation network, including satellite and radar stations.
An official of the State Oceanic Administration was quoted as saying that the network is “fundamental” to protecting China’s maritime interests and promoting disaster risk reduction.
Lacierda told government radio station DZRB that the Foreign Affairs Department was looking into the matter. But he also said that “our policy is we do not want to escalate tensions in the area.”
The South China Sea that is claimed almost entirely by China.
Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims to the area, believed to be rich in marine and mineral resources.