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DFA OFFICIAL SAYS

‘China not an enemy’ despite sea row

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:33 PM May 07, 2015

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The Philippines does not consider  China  an “enemy” despite  disputes  over  the West  Philippine  Sea, an official of the Department of  Foreign  Affairs said on Thursday.

During the hearing of the Senate committee on national defense, DFA Assistant Secretary Benito Valeriano reported that the  Philippines has already  filed at least eight diplomatic protests  since April 2014 over China’s reported massive  reclamation and dredging activities in disputed waters.

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This, he said, did not include the three other  protests they filed  involving other incidents  in the disputed waters like the ramming of the fishing vessels and water cannon incidents, among others.

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Valeriano also enumerated  other actions  that were undertaken by the Philippine  government to protest  China’s  activities  in  the West Philippines Sea.

But when asked  by Senator  Antonio  Trillanes IV,  chairman  of the committee, about  the  government’s policy toward China or whether it considers  China an enemy,  the DFA official said: “Your honor, China is not an  enemy. In fact, we have  bilateral relations with China; we have diplomatic relations.”

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“Our approach to this is through the rule of law, that’s why we sought arbitration and even  if China did not participate, it’s an option under UNCLOS (United Nations  Convention  on the  Law of the Seas) for China not to participate and the tribunal that was composed for this arbitration has also engaged China to get this side of this arbitration,”  Valeriano said. IDL

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TAGS: Benito Valeriano, China, Department of Foreign Affairs, DFA, hearing, investigation, Philippines, reclamation, sea row, Senate, South China Sea, territorial dispute, West Philippine Sea
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