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Philippines won't be provoked by signs of Chinese 'reclamation'

Published on Jun 7, 2014 7:00 PM
This undated handout photo released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shows the alleged reclamation by China on what is internationally recognised as the Johnson South Reef in the South China Sea, otherwise known as the Mabini Reef by the Philippines and Chigua Reef by China. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines on Saturday said it was investigating signs that China was reclaiming land on disputed South China Sea reefs but stressed it would not be provoked into a rash response.

President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Abigail Valte said the government was looking into reports that the Chinese were damaging the reefs in an alleged effort to turn two remote outcrops in the sea into islands. But she added that Manila would continue to pursue a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

"We do not respond to provocative action, especially (through) military action... we always exhaust the diplomatic channels, as well as other legal means that can help us address this particular issue."

She also reiterated Mr Aquino's earlier remarks that Chinese ships had been spotted in the South China Sea, possibly carrying land reclamation equipment.

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