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China to build on Scarborough Shoal – reports

MANILA, Philippines – China is preparing to build an environmental monitoring station on the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), reports said Friday, March 17.

Both the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters reported this on Friday, quoting Xiao Jie, mayor of China's Sansha City in the disputed sea. 

Monitoring stations "were being built on 6 islands and reefs, including Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines," an AP report said, quoting Xiao. 

Xiao told the official Hainan Daily newspaper "that preparatory work on the stations was among the government's priorities for 2017," the AP report added.

Reuters also reported on Friday, "This week, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what China calls Sansha City, said China planned to begin preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal."

In a text message, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said, "We can't comment at this time as we still have to verify the media report."

This comes after then Philippine foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said China had promised not to build facilities on Scarborough Shoal.

Recently, the Philippines also asked China to clarify the reported presence of a Chinese survey ship near Benham Rise, a 13-million-hectare underwater plateau over which the Philippines has exclusive rights to explore and exploit resources. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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