Banking on good faith: Palace says China’s giant island-building ship not a threat

Image from Xinhua News
  • Malacañang Palace waved off concern over China’s giant dredging vessel
  • Presidential spokesman said Duterte banking on China’s vow not to use ship in West PH Sea
  • He also said there is no cause of concern due to warmer PH-China ties

MANILA, Philippines  –  Malacañang Palace has brushed off concern over China’s latest dredging vessel; saying  President Rodrigo Duterte has received assurance it won’t be used for reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“China has told the President, they do not intend to reclaim Scarborough and we leave it at that,” the Philippine Star quoted Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as saying. “We need to rely on good faith because otherwise there would be no predictability in international relations.”

Dubbed as a ‘magic island maker’ with a deck spanning  9 basketball courts, the Tian Kun Han is reportedly to able to dredge 6,000 cubic meters per hour. It replaced the Tian Jing Hao which had been used in the construction of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Earlier, defense chief Delfin Lorenzana said they will closely monitor the movements of the ship even as he admitted concern over it presence.

“We have reports that they launched their big dredger but we don’t know where it is going. We are constantly monitoring the movement of this ship,” he said.

According to Roque, the public should not view China with suspicion anymore owing to the warmer ties between the two countries which he said has brought positive results.

“We are seeing new heights in terms of Philippine-Chinese relations and it has resulted in very tangible results particularly economic investments,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to improve ties with China amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea, saying he will bring up the country’s maritime claim with its giant neighbor at an appropriate time.