A maritime expert has suggested the Philippines should consider reports China has installed a new superweapon in one of its warships.
Interviewed on News To Go, beamed nationwide, Professor Jay Batongbacal of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea said the government should take note of the development as Beijing once again was flexing its military muscle.
China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute over parts of the vast South China Sea.
China’s new superweapon, the electromagnetic super railgun, is said to be capable of firing at hypersonic speeds and thus can create more damage to its target.
In a related development, an opposition lawmaker supported the call of former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario for the Philippines to work with Vietnam in negotiating a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
“Vietnam has taken a strong stance against pro-China provisions in the proposed COC. The Philippines must support Vietnam on this to block the attempts of China to gain complete control of entire South China Sea,” Magdalo party-List Rep. Gary Alejano said.
Alejano’s expression of support came after Del Rosario called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to block the pro-China provisions in the proposed COC in the South China Sea.
Specifically, Del Rosario urged the DFA to take the same position of Vietnam on banning any new air defense identification zone, clarifying maritime entitlements in accordance with international law, blocking of a proposal by China to ban military drills in the South China Sea with countries outside the region unless all signatories agree, and blocking China’s proposal to exclude foreign oil firms by limiting joint development deals to China and Southeast Asia.
“Vietnam has been vocal in condemning China’s militarization of the South China Sea. And while it has maintained good economic relations with China, it has not foregone its territorial claims in the South China Sea and compromised its sovereignty—a few things the Duterte administration should take note of,” Alejano said.
The former Marine officer called on the Philippines and the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ensure that the COC serve its main purpose of ensuring peace and stability in the region according to international law.
“The Asean should have a unified voice in negotiating the COC. This is crucial in making sure that the COC will not be utilized by China to serve its unlawful actions. The COC must embody respect for international law,” Alejano said.