'Provocative action'

In Malacañang, Ricky Carandang, chief of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, told reporters that if the setting up of the radar by the Chinese on Subi Reef was confirmed, the Philippines would view it as "provocative action."

Such an action, he said, would not be consistent with a code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea that Asean is trying to formulate to prevent armed clashes with China in disputed parts of the sea.

Asked whether the Philippines would negotiate with China on its own or get the Asean involved to get China to agree to a code of conduct, Carandang said, "We are meeting with the Asean."

Asean foreign ministers agreed on key elements for the code of conduct in their Phnom Penh meeting, but the preparation of the code may take more time now that the bloc is in disarray over China's lobbying against the code.

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