‘Shouldn’t Duterte administration take China to task instead?’
A spokesperson for former President Benigno Aquino III hit back on Monday at presidential spokesperson Harry Roque for blaming China’s militarization of artificial islands in the South China Sea on the previous administration.
Reacting to the new photos of the Chinese military bases published by Inquirer.net, Roque said: “If the Aquino administration was not able to do anything about these artificial islands, what do they want us to do?”
Abigail Valte, a spokesperson for Aquino, replied: “Wrong. They (China) were taken to task with the UN arbitral tribunal. We won that one, in fact. It is the administration that Mr. Roque serves that put aside the decision in our favor. And for whose benefit?”
Valte continued: “And why is Mr. Roque blaming the Aquino administration for violations of international law committed by the Chinese? Shouldn’t he and his administration take the Chinese to task for it? Whose side are they on, anyway?”
The Aquino administration challenged China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea in the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration after China seized Panatag Shoal, a rich fishing ground off Zambales province, after a two-month maritime standoff with the Philippines in 2012.
The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016, saying China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore for resources in the West Philippine Sea, waters within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.