PHL to remain firm in de-escalating tension in West PHL Sea
The Philippines will remain firm in its efforts to de-escalate tension in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) while it continues to push for a rules-based regime in settling territorial disputes there, Malacañang said Sunday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte made this clear after the United States criticized China for setting up a garrison in a part of the contested Spratly Islands.
“We remained firm in our commitment to ... de-escalating tensions and approach to settle it under a rules-based regime,” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.
She said the Philippines already filed a diplomatic protest to China’s setting up a new city – Sansha City – in an area administered by a 34-year-old town of Palawan.
“The fact that we filed a diplomatic protest shows you what the position of the Philippine government is on that particular point,” she said.
Since April, the Philippines and China had also been locked in a standoff over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which China claims as Huangyan Island.
Last April, Philippine forces spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species from the area but were blocked by Chinese ships when they tried to make arrests.
Recently, the US State Department scored China’s behavior in the West Philippine Sea as not helping ease tensions in the region.
It voiced “concern” over the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and is monitoring the situation closely.
China also has separate disputes with Japan, another US ally, in the East China Sea.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had voiced hope for further progress in a code of conduct on the South China Sea.
“Those should be resolved peacefully, and they should be resolved pursuant to a code of conduct. And the United States will do whatever we can to work with Japan and others to ensure that that is the approach we take,” he said. –KG, GMA News
Talk of the web