In the midst of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, the Chinese government officially created two districts under Hainan province—-Xisha and Nansha—-both located in the West Philippine Sea.
The local government unit of Kalayaan that covers the Spratly Group of Islands, condemned the move adding that the timing is very wrong.
“We are highly condemning such acts ng pag-claim ng dalawang panibagong distrito dun sa West Philippine Sea. Alam naman po natin dun sa Spratly and sa Paracel na simula’t sapul pinagtibay na ng Permanent Court of Arbitration ng ating bansa regarding dun sa ating mga occupied islands, so we are highly condemning it,” said by Kalayaan Acting Information Officer MP Albayda.
He said that this move by the Chinese government is obviously exploiting the current situation of the world due to the COVID-19.
“Totoo po na hindi po maganda ang timing na parang your taking advantage of the worlds unprepared or un-readiness dito sa crisis natin which is the coronavirus,” Albayda said.
Albayda said that they are ready to file or submit any protest regarding the said creation of district of China, however they are not in the position to do such since WPS issue is a broad topic that involves many agencies.
“We are coordinating with maritime law enforcement agencies, as well as our maritime security agency regarding that matter. Halimbawa kailangan namin mag-document then we will just send it and they will work out for it,” Albayda added.
The said reports that circulated online via CGTN last April 18 confirmed that the state council of Hainan province approved the creation of what they call Xisha and Nansha Districts under Sansha City. Xisha will administer the Xisha and Zhongsha islands including the surrounding waters and Nansha districts cover the Yongshu Jiao and its surrounding waters.
Albayda said that they are expecting this issue from China as it is part of its strategy in strengthening their claims in WPS.
“This is something that is inevitable. When we talk about China they are for progress, business and booming their economy, isa dun ay pagpapalawig ng kanilang teritoryo. Whether or not time and again we will speak na yung ideology ng pagpapalawig nila ay ang pag-reclaim. Halimbawa ay ang pag-develop ng mga features dun sa West Philippines sea. It’s a common knowledge na ganun ang ginagawa nila kaya hindi malayo na mangyari itong mga current issues. Tulad ng pagkakaroon ng dalawang district sa Paracel at Spratly islands,” Albayde said in closing.