China slams PH's repeated denial of Ayungin Shoal 'understanding'

China slams PH’s repeated denial of Ayungin Shoal ‘understanding’

'Is there something they are trying to hide?'
/ 12:04 PM April 23, 2024

China says Marcos gov’t broke ‘new’ Ayungin pact

DECEPTIVE CALM Ayungin Shoal, shown here with its clear waters and pristine marine formations, with only the BRP SierraMadre as its man-made fixture, continues to be at the center of a diplomatic row betweenManila and Beijing that seems to get murkier each day. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson slammed the Philippine government for its repeated denial of the existence of what they call a “common understanding” between two nations when it comes to matters pertaining to Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also noted that such a pact between Manila and Beijing was not only reached during President Rodrigo Duterte’s time, but also during the administration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.


“China and the Philippines reached common understandings on properly handling the situation at [Ayungin Shoal],” Wang said in a regular press conference on Monday. “These common understandings were reached not only during the Philippines’ previous administration but also its current administration.”


READ: China: Marcos admin knows WPS ‘deal’ with Duterte, new handling of row

“This is the plain fact,” Wang said of the “common understanding”, citing media reports here and statements of Duterte’s former officials.

Wang also said: “The Philippines keeps denying these common understandings. What exactly is their issue? Is there something they are trying to hide?”

The spokesperson was reacting to National Security Adviser Eduardo Año’s statement over the weekend that such an agreement “is not and will never be binding” in the Marcos administration.

READ: Año urges Filipinos: Push back vs narratives undermining nat’l interest

Marcos, who said that he was “horrified” by the prospects of such an agreement, stressed that, even if it’s true, he is already rescinding it.


READ: Many excuses from ex-Duterte execs on ‘gentleman’s agreement’, says Marcos

Former presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Duterte himself denied making such a pact with China, contradicting his fellow ex-presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who made the bombshell revelation last month.

Ayungin Shoal is the home of BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned Navy ship grounded in the sandbank in 1999 to assert the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea.

The rotation and reprovision mission in the area  has become the flashpoint of tension between Manila and Beijing.

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Beijing asserts sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the West Philippine Sea, but their claims have been effectively invalidated by the July 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

TAGS: Ayungin Shoal, China, Philippines, West Philippine Sea

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