MANILA, Philippines – China is planning to construct an observation network by 2020 to protect its maritime interests and promote disaster risk reduction, a foreign publication reported.
As China and other Asian countries face territorial disputes, China Daily on Friday said a guideline on the observation network was recently released by the State Oceanic Administration.
The observation network initiative includes the building of radar stations, tsunami warning observation stations, and satellite operations.
An official from the Disaster Prevention and Reduction Department, Chen Zhi, said their government plans to bolster its lagging offshore observation capacity, specifically its maritime observation methods, infrastructure and technical support.
With concerns that the observation network will further heighten tension in the region, the Philippine government said its Department of Foreign Affairs is already studying the matter.
“Our policy is we do not want to escalate tensions in the area, and so we have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to look into it,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview.
“They will be the ones responsible in discussing this matter or issue any statement to that effect,” he added.
China has been strengthening is maritime capacity for the past years as it attempts to reinforce its claim on various parts of South China Sea. The Philippines is currently pursuing an arbitration case against China before the United Nations.
China Daily said offshore disasters have resulted in economic losses (costing at least $2.6 billion) and casualties for China.
“The observation network initiative comes amid growing international attention to China’s vast sea area and its rich natural marine resources,” it said.
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