MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is coordinating with the Department of National Defense (DND) in addressing the “new violations” by China in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but did not confirm the claim Tuesday by DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin about the fresh incursions.
“Jointly with DND, we are committed to look at ways to appropriately address this issue,” DFA Spokesman assistant secretary Raul Hernandez said in a text message.
Hernandez said they were working to confirm the violations.
Gazmin made the disclosure earlier on Tuesday.
China claims almost the entire resource-rich sea, including the Spratlys group of islands near Palawan province, Bajo de Masinloc (Panagatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal), and Ayungin shoal, all of which are within the Philippines 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone.
In April 2012, a standoff occurred between Chinese and Philippine ships at Scarborough Shoal after several Chinese fishing boats were found illegally poaching endemic Philippine marine species in the shoal.
The Philippines has filed several diplomatic protests against China and has sought arbitration proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
Gazmin, however, did not reveal additional information about the recent violations saying, “We do not want to preempt the information…it has to go through channels.”