Despite Manila having stated that it can’t verify the presence of the Chinese bombers, it has taken note of the reports and expressed “serious concerns anew on its impact to efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region,” according to the Philippines’ presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines has echoed these words, confirming a hard line on the South China Sea issue.
“We reiterate our commitment to protect every single inch of our territory and areas which we have sovereign rights over,” the statement of the department said.
The Chinese Air Force announced in a statement last Saturday that their strategic bombers had landed and taken off from a few reefs and islands in the South China Sea as a part of massive air drills.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has stated, that despite the favorable ruling his country had received over the disputed waterway from the court in The Hague, he would not like a confrontation between the countries, and is open to joint exploration and gas and oil production in these waters.
China has been constructing seven artificial islands, building numerous civilian facilities, and military facilities in South China Sea, which is rich in oil and gas reserves and is a key maritime trade route. At present, various territories in the South China Sea are also disputed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.