New DFA spokesman talks tough against China
MANILA, Philippines—He may be new, but he can talk tough to mighty China and say that the Philippines has sole control over the disputed Ayungin Shoal.
After China continued to pester Philippine operations in the disputed area, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said that the Philippines has the sole sovereignty over the Ayungin Shoal.
In an interview with Inquirer Radio 990AM Wednesday, Jose said that the Ayungin Shoal lies within the 200-nautical mile range that the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (Unclos) imposed on maritime territories.
“On its low-tide elevation, the Ayungin Shoal lies well within from the baseline of the Philippines,” Jose said. “It is part of the continental shelf, and the Philippines has the exclusive sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Ayungin Shoal.
According to Jose, Ayungin Shoal lies just over a hundred miles from the Palawan coastline.
Jose said that unlike China, which flaunted its military might around the area, the Philippines would comply with the Unclos to resolve the territorial dispute in the area.
“I would like to point out that the Philippines is pursuing a principle of foreign policy that is based on international law, particularly to the 1982 Unclos,” Jose said.
“We are also advocating the peaceful resolution on the territorial dispute without the use of force.”
Jose added that the DFA has filed a case to the Arbitration Tribunal of the Unclos, and on March 30 they would file their arguments, to get the answer on who has exclusive jurisdiction on the waters of the West Philippine Sea.
“Thankfully the tribunal can decide soon on who has maritime jurisdiction on the claimants of the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” Jose said.
Apart from abiding to the Unclos to solve the matter, Jose said that the United States has got the Philippines’ back if the situation gets out of hand.
“Their signals are very encouraging; they said that they would abide by their treaty obligations under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty,” Jose said.
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