DFA: PH’s goal is to ‘peacefully manage’ sea row with China
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo on Tuesday said the Philippines maintains its goal to “peacefully manage” its maritime disputes with China despite continued aggressions and incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
In an ambush interview, Manalo noted that the DFA will not make Manila and Beijing’s differences in the South China Sea the “only factor” between the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
“We have made that very clear. Our aim is to manage our disputes peacefully and through international law,” Manalo told reporters.
“We have a complex and big relationship with China, so every day we see how to manage it,” he added.
Manalo also commented on China’s installation of a floating barrier at Scarborough Shoal on September 22 as witnessed by patrolling personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The PCG removed the floating barrier upon the order of President Ferdiannd Marcos Jr.
“I only read it in the newspapers, but it is correct. Technically, we [have] the right to practice our sovereignty and our sovereign rights so it would have been a move that is consistent with our position. But we are still waiting for the full report,” he said.