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‘Not our policy to publicize’ every PH action on West PH Sea – DFA

AS IT ASSURES IT IS ‘CLOSELY MONITORING’ ACTIVITIES IN DISPUTED AREA
By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 10:11 AM May 21, 2018

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday it was “closely monitoring developments” in the region, as it takes the necessary “diplomatic step” on the recent development.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs, in close coordination with the other relevant departments and agencies, is closely monitoring developments in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the DFA said in a statement.

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The DFA pointed out that expression of concerns is being forwarded to diplomatic channels as it is not the government’s policy to publicize every action it takes over the issues on the West Philippine Sea.

“While appropriate language, whether expressions of condemnation or concern, over certain developments are clearly conveyed through diplomatic channels, it is not our policy to publicize every action taken by the Philippine Government whenever there are reported developments taking place in the West Philippine Sea and the South China Sea,” the DFA noted.

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On Friday, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force said it has conducted takeoff and landing training “on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions.’”

It said the pilot of the H-6K bomber conducted assault training and then carried out takeoffs and landings at an airport in the area, describing the exercise as preparation for “the West Pacific and the battle for the South China Sea.”

READ: China preps nuclear bombers on disputed reefs; PH within range

In a speech in Cebu on Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not go to war over the West Philippine Sea because the Philippines did not have the military capability to take on China.

He reiterated his openness to undertake joint exploration and development in the West Philippine Sea, a vast area believed to be rich in oil and natural gas.

“It did not come during my term,” the President said. “But then again, if I were the President at that time, what could I have done? I can send my Marines there. I can send every policeman there. But what will happen? They will all be massacred.”

READ: Asserting PH sovereignty will mean trouble – Duterte

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The DFA said the government is “taking the appropriate diplomatic action necessary to protect our claims and will continue to do so in the future.”

“We reiterate our commitment to protect every single inch of our territory and areas which we have sovereign rights over,” it added.                /kga

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TAGS: China, DFA, Diplomacy, Philippines, sea dispute, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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