Protesters in Manila slam China’s activities on disputed isles

Manila, May 18 (IANS) A group of protesters gathered at the Chinese consulate in southern Manila’s Makati district on Friday to criticise Beijing’s activities on disputed islands in the South China Sea.

A dozen people from the Pamalakaya (Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas) group carried out a peaceful protest holding up placards and signs denouncing China’s alleged installation of missiles on the Spratly islands, Efe news reported.

One man held a painted sign in the shape of a missile with the message “China out of the Philippine waters” while other signs read “China out of west Philippine sea” and “Defend our sovereignty”.

A news release from Pamalakaya criticised China for setting up cruise and surface-to-air missiles on “three of seven artificial islands that China has seized from the Philippines in the Spratly Islands”.

The letter said that China’s construction of artificial islands, known as reclamation, threatens the livelihood of Filipino fishermen and the food security of millions of people in the country.

The fishing grounds around the islands contribute at least 20 per cent of the total yearly fish catch, Pamalakaya added.

The release also denounced China for not complying with the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which favoured the Philippines’ claim over its part of the South China Sea.

The South China Sea dispute involves competing claims from the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

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