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Palace refutes Carpio’s Duterte ‘green light’ claim

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 01:31 PM May 20, 2017
reef south china sea

BATTLE-READY A satellite image released on Dec. 13 shows what CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says appears to be antiaircraft guns and what are likely to be close-in weapons systems on Hughes (McKennan) Reef in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China Sea. China has said it has no intention to militarize Hughes and six other artificial islands in the strategic waterway, where several countries have conflicting territorial claims.

Malacañang on Saturday refuted the remarks of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, saying President Rodrigo Duterte gave the “green light” to China reclamation with the country’s soft stance on the issue during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meeting in April.

“With all due respect to the Senior Associate Justice, Chinese island-building and military deployment activities on certain features in the West Philippine Sea have been ongoing for some years now,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

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In a speech on Friday, Carpio said Duterte gave the green light to China’s massive reclamation in the disputed sea when he failed to mention the territorial dispute in the Asean Chairman Statement during the country’s hosting in April.

“In 2017 we were the host [of the Asean], the president was responsible for the Chairman’s Statement [but made] no mention of reclamation or militarization. For the Chinese this is a green light,” he said.

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But Abella said Duterte was employing “two-track strategy” in dealing with the two countries’ maritime dispute.

READ: Duterte open to deals in South China Sea

“President Rodrigo R. Duterte maintains a two-track approach to our relationship with PROC; one, to grow our healthy economic, trade and investment relationships, and to ensure that our arbitral rights in the WPS (West Philippine Sea) are not compromised, more so now through the newly established bilateral consultation mechanism to manage disputes in the area,” he said.

“The disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea are not the sum total of our relations with China, but we are cognizant of the warmer relationships we have in the region,” he added.

The Philippines and China held the inaugural meeting of the bilateral consultative mechanism on Friday in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province to settle the dispute in the South China Sea

During Duterte’s bilateral talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on May 15, he reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to settle the sea row peacefully.

“It is important to keep our communication lines open. I am pleased that we have established a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea. This is one step forward toward peacefully engaging disputes and I hope the inaugural meeting will be a success,” Duterte told Xi.

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Duterte revealed in a speech on Friday that China had threatened war if the Philippines would insist its claim on the South China Sea. IDL

READ: Duterte: China threatened war

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TAGS: Antonio Carpio, China, green light, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, territorial dispute, West Philippine Sea
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