China has been reclaiming uninhabited islands in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea, which is also claimed by ASEAN members Viet Nam, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma made the announcement following a meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyan Tang Dung.
The Philippines and Viet Nam are just two of several countries in the ASEAN that have exclusive economic zone claims in the South China Sea challenging China’s nine-dash line theory.
“The two leaders expressed concern over the reclamation activities undertaken by China that clearly indicate violation of the DOC provision against 'inhabiting previously uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features,” Mr Coloma said.
Meanwhile, besides the South China Sea issue, the two leaders also talked about the relationship between the Philippines and Viet Nam, which Prime Minister Tan Dung described as “thriving in all aspects.”
Prime Minister Tan Dung also made an appeal to President Aquino regarding the case of 31 Vietnamese fishermen currently facing trial in the Philippines for poaching.
“Upon the Prime Minister’s request, the President said he will direct the Department of Justice to work for the speedy completion of the ongoing trial of the 31 Vietnamese fishermen who were arrested in Sulu for illegal fishing activities,” Mr Coloma said.