PH Coast Guard's partnership with Vietnam not directed vs China — spox | Global News

PH Coast Guard’s partnership with Vietnam not directed vs China — spox

/ 02:07 PM February 01, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The partnership between the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and its Vietnamese counterparts is not directed against China, a PCG official said on Thursday.

PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo clarified this in an interview with on Thursday after a Chinese maritime security expert expressed qualms about the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Manila and Hanoi last Jan. 30.

READ: PH, Vietnam to sign pact to face sea row better


“This (agreement) is not directed against them (China), I think,” Balilo said during an interview at the PCG Headquarters in Port Area.


“As a sovereign nation, we are independent to do things like entering partnerships with other countries. China’s reaction is expected—of course, they will react—but what’s important is that we will just continue to do acts pursuant to our own interests,” he said, partly in Filipino.

Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, warned of possible adverse effects of Manila and Hanoi’s agreement to the South China Sea dispute.

“If their cooperation harms the interests of third parties, including China, it will only deteriorate the situation in the South China Sea, making the risk of possible conflict greater,” according to the Chinese publication Global Times, citing Chen, in an article dated Jan. 29.

The MOU signed by both countries will enable the development of a Joint Coast Guard Committee that would discuss common issues and interests and establish a hotline communication mechanism between the PCG and the Vietnam Coast Guard.

Chen, however, expressed concern that the agreement will “put more pressure and cost on our (China’s) maritime rights protection because the Vietnam and Philippines coast guards could share information and cooperate in law enforcement based on their agreement.”

However, Balilo pointed out that the hotline would greatly facilitate coordination especially when it comes to fishermen.


“It would facilitate better coordination when it comes to search and rescue, and on the taking shelter of fishermen (of both countries),” Balilo said.

Both the Philippines and Vietnam are among the claimants in the South China Sea, with Beijing claiming almost its entirety despite a 2016 ruling by an arbitration tribunal rejecting China’s assertions.

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Parts of the South China Sea inside Manila’s exclusive economic zone are locally referred to as the West Philippine Sea, while Hanoi refers to the South China Sea as the East Sea.

TAGS: China, PCG, Philippine Coast Guard, Vietnam

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