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JMSU gave China the opening to claim Reed Bank, says Lacierda

The Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) by the Philippines, China and Vietnam in the Spratly Islands in 2005-2008 gave China an open window to claim the Reed Bank and other parts of Philippine territory, Malacañang said Wednesday. China started claiming the Recto Bank (Reed Bank) as part of its territory only after the JMSU was signed, said Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. The issue was never raised during the Marcos era, according to the Palace official. “The nine-dash line allowed them to claim territories which we believe are ours. So based on their theory, they also wanted to claim part of what is ours as theirs. So that is where the conflict lays. But certainly, the JMSU provided them an opening for that," Lacierda said. The Chinese incursions into the Spratlys also started after the JMSU signing, he said. “That (JMSU) created a slew of problems for us. Had we stayed to our position before… Like I said, during the time of President Marcos, there was no issue on certain waters being ours. So the JMSU provided an opening for the Chinese to claim and, as a result, the nine-dash line theory was also laid out," he said. President Aquino, in his speech Tuesday at the 113th foundation day of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said the Arroyo administration complicated the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute because it crafted the JMSU, the constitutionality of which was questioned by some. Asked if the Aquino administration plans to go after former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo over the JSMU , Lacierda said: “I’m not aware of any. I will have to ask the DFA." Lacierda said the concern of the Philippines is to have a peaceful resolution of the problem. He said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario is going to China, because the Philippine wants a peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute involving the Spratlys. — VS, GMA News