China has ordered the deployment of three navigation beacons around the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea after the Philippines earlier placed similar markers.
According to China’s Transport Ministry, its South China Sea maritime security center positioned three beacons close to Irving Reef (Balagtas Reef), Whitsun Reef (Julian Felipe Reef), and Gaven Reefs (Burgos Reefs) of the Spratlys.
The agency said the beacon placement aimed to “ensure the safety of ships’ navigation and operations.”
The Philippines earlier this month deployed navigational buoys carrying the country’s flag within its exclusive economic zone, including at Balagtas Reef and Julian Felipe Reef, where hundreds of Chinese ships were moored in 2021 and again in 2022.
As this developed, Sen. Francis Tolentino said the potential defense agreement between the Philippine and Japanese governments may need the concurrence of the Senate.
Tolentino, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, made the remarks as the two Asian countries are reportedly preparing to begin their preliminary consultations before commencing the formal negotiations for a “Reciprocal Access Agreement” or RAA—basically the proposed Visiting Forces Agreement between Manila and Tokyo.
He noted that the primary nature of the agreement will be through a treaty.
“Then, it must be done precisely in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, and thus, must be ratified by members of the Senate,” the senator said.
Earlier, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa said Manila and Tokyo are “just about to start the consultation for negotiations.”
Once approved, he said the proposed agreement would allow Filipino and Japanese forces to deploy troops on each other’s territory for training and other operations.