China and the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations have been working on a ''code of conduct'' to govern state activities in the South China Sea, where China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei have conflicting claims over the sprawling Spratly island
Some weeks ago, US defense officials said, two large artillery vehicles were placed on one of the artificial islands - on Kagitingan Reef, which is also claimed by the Philippines, in the Spratly island
group, but the US said the weapons were later removed.
The Senate national defense and security committee pushed yesterday for an accelerated Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program for the Philippines to be able to put up a credible defense posture against the military might of the People's Republic of China whose alleged illegal reclamation of parts of the contested Spratly island
in the West Philippine sea presents naval and air force launching pads in its expanded military sphere.
The chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee formally sought yesterday a probe into the alleged land reclamations and dredging operations by the People's Republic of China (PROC) on the disputed Spratly island
Rival claimant Vietnam, meanwhile, is nearing completion of reclamations and an extended runway on its base on Spratly Island
, the satellite images show.
33) The Vietnamese first acted to strengthen their claim in 1956, when the South Vietnamese government placed a garrison on Spratly Island
Washington's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said that satellite images from this month showed Vietnam lengthened its runway on Spratly Island
from less than 2,500 feet to more than 3,300 feet.
Both China and Vietnam claim sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly island
groups in the South China Sea, with both countries engaging in oil and gas exploration in overlapping maritime zones in the region.
This includes the Spratly Islands
and the Chinese-controlled Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off the coast of Zambales.
Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of Kalayaan island, which is under Philippine control in the Spratly islands
, where attention has recently focused on China's massive islands reclamation work, said that he flew last week near the Chinese-controlled Subi Reef and saw construction was in full swing with many dredgers and a huge crane visible on the emerging man-made island.
And that made the Chinese take an aggressive [stance] and take over our areas like Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands
He also said that any activity by Manila on the islands was illegal, referring to the Philippines' plans to set up a $1 million satellite-based system on Thitu to track commercial flights over the South China Sea, after Beijing landed its first test flights earlier this month on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly islands
, according to Reuters.