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Palace: Permission to China means we own West PH Sea

MANILA, Philippines — Giving China “permission” for its presence in the West Philippine Sea shows the Philippines to be the “owner” of that area, Malacañang said on Sunday.

“That very act alone shows you are the owner, since you are giving permission. If you are not the owner how can you
give permission?” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.

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On China’s proposal of a 60-40 sharing of resources in the West Philippine Sea, Panelo suggested this could be used as a “bargaining leverage.”

“You can say it is ours, but you are also claiming it. Why don’t we discuss joint exploration so that both of us would benefit from it?” he said.

On Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua’s statements reaffirming China’s rejection of the 2016 arbitral ruling in the Philippines’ favor, Panelo said, “That’s the position and right of China not to budge on their position, in the same way it is our right not to budge on ours. But that will not stop the President from raising the issue on the arbitral ruling.”

Also on Sunday, fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) issued a statement criticizing China’s proposal on the West Philippine Sea.

“Legally allowing China to exploit our resources is synonymous to [the] violation [of] our right to self-determination and right to utilize national patrimony for national development,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chair.

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TAGS: Maritime Dispute, Salvador Panelo, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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