Physically checking Chinese weather stations in WPS may provoke China: Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo said during the December 4 press briefing that physically confirming the presence of weather observation stations in Chinese-occupied features in West Philippine Sea entails going inside the territory that may provoke China.

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said that the Philippines cannot physically confirm presence of China’s weather stations in West Philippine Sea.

“Well, apparently the Secretary of National Defense has already done his job,” Panelo said when asked if the Philippines will exert more effort to confirm.

“I think Mr. Lorenzana has already made some checking, that’s why he made that statement,” he added.

He added that “you need to go inside the territory that this particular country claims that it’s theirs. So you may have some problems there; may even provoke something that we don’t want.”

“They claim that it’s theirs, but the arbitral ruling says it’s ours. Meanwhile, nobody seems to want to enforce it, that is precisely why we’re using the mechanism of diplomacy and negotiation,” he said.

Early November, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it will take appropriate action after validating the presence of weather stations.

The Chinese side confirmed that it has begun operating a maritime observation center, a meteorological observatory and a national environmental and air quality monitoring station on reefs of Spratly Islands.