PH to assert sovereign rights vs China, says Palace
MANILA, Philippines — With or without the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, Malacañang said Thursday that the government will assert its sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea against China.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after the Philippines lodged two diplomatic protests against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
“Alam niyo po, ‘yung filing ng diplomatic protest, ginagawa po ‘yan basta kinakailangang gawin. Que may COVID, que wala,” Roque said in an online press conference.
(You know what, the filing of diplomatic protests is done whenever there is a need to— whether there is a COVID-19 crisis or not.)
“Tayo po ay mananatili na poprotektahan at itataguyod ang ating national territory at ang ating sovereign rights,” he added.
(We will continue to protect and assert our national territory and our sovereign rights.)
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin earlier said the two diplomatic protests concerned China’s alleged pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship, and the establishment of two administrative units covering Philippine territories as part of the disputed South China Sea.
Roque also expressed hope that China will fulfil its promise to refrain from reclaiming more areas over the disputed waters.
“Wala po akong nakalap na balita na gumagawa po sila ng mga bagong istruktura. Pero inuulit ko po na ang pangako po ng China, na tayo naman po ay umaasa na tutuparin nila, walang bagong reclamation na gagawin dahil hindi po dapat mapalala pa yung problema pagdating ng reclamation,” Roque said.
(I haven’t heard anything about new structures being built. But I reiterate that China promised, which we hope they would fulfil, that there would be no new reclamation. The problem on reclamation should not worsen.)
China claims the entire South China Sea is part of its territory, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in 2016 that its nine-dash line and historic rights claims are invalid.
China, however, refused to acknowledge the ruling.
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