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Lorenzana says will ask DFA to protest China ‘militarization’ of Kagitingan Reef

The Department of National Defense will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a diplomatic protest if it will be proven that China has deployed soldiers and weapons on the Kagitingan Reef or Fiery Cross in the South China Sea.

“We are going to urge [the Department of Foreign Affairs] to make a protest if we can see that the Chinese are militarizing the area na very near our place, Fiery Cross is very near Reed Bank, malapit din ‘yan sa ating barko na nakasadsad doon, sa Sierra Madre,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said after the turnover rites at the Army's Special Operations Command in Nueva Ecija on Monday.

“Our stand is we will continue to establish, register our protest through the Department of Foreign Affairs,” he added.

He cited that the Chinese government had said it is not going to militarize reclaimed islands in the South China Sea.

“Remember those were not islands before, those were just reefs but they are now islands. According to them, they are not militarizing and it was for peaceful purposes only like tourism," Lorenzana said.

He said China would be violating its own promise if reports about the Kagitingan Reef's militarization are proven true.

In photos released by a state-run Chinese television, Fiery Cross Reef has become an airbase, with a hospital, military facilities and 200 soldiers. —ALG, GMA News