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Philippines ready to take up Chinese offer for talks on joint Spratly development


FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City, Philippines—The Philippines continues to assert its claim over the disputed Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but is ready for joint development negotiations being proposed by China, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said here on Saturday.

The defense chief also said the country was concerned about the increase in China’s military buildup but “as long as it is transparent about how they spend their military budget,” it would not be a problem.

Gazmin graced the pre-graduation program for the Philippine Military Academy’s “Bagwis” Class of 2012. President Benigno Aquino is the guest speaker at Sunday’s graduation where he will also commission new officers from the 187 members of the class.

“We are amenable to the [Chinese offer of joint cooperation] for as long as it conforms to our laws,” Gazmin said. “As [President Aquino] said, what is ours is ours. China can be allowed to have a joint venture, but it should be based on our rules.”

Newly installed Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing had offered to hold talks for  cooperation in developing the contested Spratlys.  While she acknowledged in a recent press briefing the 11.2 percent increase in China’s military appropriations, she said her country would not pose any threat to Southeast Asian nations that are also claiming  ownership of the Spratlys.

Reacting to reports that China would increase its defense budget to 670.27 billion yuan ($106.41 billion) this year, Gazmin said: “It is in China’s interest to increase its [military] budget. We maintain that we are a little bit worried about [the increased arms spending].”

But he backtracked: “For as long as there is transparency, we should not be worried about it. Basta transparent iyong pag-gastos nila ang makikita natin (As long as they are transparent in how they spend their military budget).”

Last week, the Armed Forces of the Philippines formally received four of eight new combat utility helicopters which it bought from a Poland-based aircraft manufacturer.

The helicopters, which landed at the Air Force City in Clark Field in Pampanga, are far more advanced than any helicopters currently used by the Philippine Air Force, officials said.

But Gazmin stressed the country is banking on internationally accepted laws and regulations to settle disputes.

China  “also accepts the rules-based approach, which is our main approach,” Gazmin said.

The Philippines pegs its claim over parts of the Spratlys on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , which prescribes how each nation defines maritime territories and how it may use maritime resources.

Both the Philippines and China signed and ratified this convention.

“But [China is] saying that it is not only UNCLOS that should be considered,” Gazmin said, adding that the treaty is only one of the mechanisms for addressing the Spratly dispute.

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Tags: China , Foreign affairs , Philippines , South China Sea , Spratly Islands , territorial disputes

  • TeabagDeluxe

    Tangina, kahit ano pang transparency ng China sa military budget nila, kung panay modern na barko tulad ng aircraft carriers, cruisers at destroyers plus mga fourth to fifth generation fighter jets naman ang pinaggagastusan nila, wala rin tayong magagawa. Bobo ampucha.

  • CyberPinoy

    China’s Plan:

    Plan A: Threat of War and sound of cannons   <– Intimidation and military postures will do
    Plan B: joint cooperation for each claimants    <– For this plan China will still have the biggest pie 
    Plan C: slowly move drilling platform under the nose of the claimants <– this is called "stealing"
    Plan D: War!

    Whichever plans china wins!     <–   greedy bastards!

    • akosimickeymouse

       Hindi madali sa China na mag declare ng giyera sa mga claimants ng Spratlys sa Pilipinas lang sumusupurta ang US,Australia,Japan,Indonisia at Rusya nitong huling pagkikita ni del Rosario at nang defense minister ng Russia…

      • CyberPinoy

        Sige bro ibahin ko, Plan D: “Take Spratlys by force” which also means war diba.

  • CyberPinoy

    Sige bro ibahin ko, Plan D: “Take Spratlys by force” which also means war diba.

  • ofwme2807

    the undisputed islands are ours, never ever explore the idea to develop these with the chinese even under our rules…we knew the track record of these people they want to get lion share of the resources, go joint venture with other countries like us, uk, australian, or other western oil and gas companies but never ever with the chinese….these are suckers and have no respect fro human rights

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    ‘her country would not pose any threat to Southeast Asian nations that are also claiming ownership of the Spratlys’

    hocus pocus to the max

    bolahin mo lelang mo

  • sh1seadad

    Good luck Philippines hope everything works out.

  • murtson

    Philippine officials know that Chinese are good in negotiation than the West when it comes to jobbery.

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