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PH protests China weapons on man-made isles


NewsHubThe Philippines has filed a low-key diplomatic protest with China after a US think tank reported that Beijing appears to have installed antiaircraft and antimissile weapons on its man-made islands in the strategically vital South China Sea.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said a diplomatic communication was issued after the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released the report last month.
The report said antiaircraft guns and close-in weapons systems designed to guard against missile attacks have been placed on all seven of China’s newly built islands in the Spratly archipelago.
Yasay said Manila had responded, but did so quietly as taking more aggressive moves would not help resolve the problem.
“We have taken action on that, we have issued a note verbale,” he said, referring to a diplomatic communication that is issued in the third person and is not signed. It is considered less formal than a letter of protest.
Yasay did not say when the note verbale was issued, adding it was a matter that he did not want to discuss.
“I just want to assure the Filipino people that when we take action at engaging China in this dispute, we do not want to take such aggressive, provocative action that will not solve the problem,” he said. “We cannot engage China in a war.”
Nevertheless, “when there are reports about the buildup of weapon systems in the area [on] our watch we made sure that the interests and rights of the Philippines are properly protected,” Yasay said.

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