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China raises ‘grave concern’ over Defense chief Lorenzana’s visit to Pag-asa Island

  • China has raised ‘grave concern’ and dissatisfaction over Defense chief Lorenzana’s visit to Pag-asa Island on Friday
  • It said the move runs counter to the consensus reached between the two governments
  • The visit is part of the Philippine government’s plan to build structures on the island

MANILA, Philippines –  China has expressed ‘grave concern’ and dissatisfaction over the recent visit of Department of National Defense (DND) chief and other officials to Pag-asa Island last Friday, April 21.

On the same day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement; saying the Philippine military officials’ visit to one of the contested islands in the West Philippine Sea “runs counter to the important consensus reached between the two leadership which is to properly deal with the South China Sea issue.”

“Gravely concerned about and dissatisfied with this, China has lodged representations with the Philippine side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in the statement.

“We hope that the Philippine side could cherish the hard-won sound momentum of development the bilateral relations are experiencing, faithfully follow the consensus reached between the two leadership, maintain general peace and stability in the South China Sea, and promote the sound and steady development of China-Philippine relations,” the official added.

Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana flew to Pag-asa Island aboard an Air Force C-130 along with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año, Army chief Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, Air Force chief Lieutenant General Edgar Fallorina, and Western Command chief Lieutenant General Raul del Rosario

Lorenzana said they were challenged at least 4 times by the Chinese troops who were stationed in the nearby Subi Reef, around 15 nautical miles from Pag-asa.

The visit is part of the Philippine government’s plan to build structures on the island and improve the lives of its Filipino inhabitants.