Code of conduct better than joint communiqué—Hernandez
MANILA, Philippines—Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez explained on Thursday they came up with the draft for the code of conduct on the Scarborough Shoal issue signed during the 45th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministerial Meeting in Cambodia.
“This is different from the joint communiqué, which is more like the minutes of the meeting. The code of conduct is a binding instrument signed by Asean foreign ministers. The next step is to present this to the Chinese and we hope they approve it,” he told anchors Susan K, Captain Dylalan Halili and Den Macaranas of “Good Morning Inquirer” on Radyo Inquirer 990 AM.
“We talked about the Scarborough Shoal,” he added, clarifying earlier reports that the issue wasn’t even tackled.
Asked on the status of the fleet of Chinese vessels reportedly occupying the Shoal, he said as of Friday, there have been sightings of three Chinese government ships and two fishing vessels outside the lagoon while inside there were two speed boats and 12 dinghies.
“As of today, they are still there,” he said.
Hernandez also explained why Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio wrote an article explaining why there’s no joint communiqué signed.
“It’s to correct the misinterpretations that came out in various articles and columns. It’s more of like saying ‘we were there during the meeting and here are the facts’,” he said.
He said amid all, through the help of the Asean nations, the Philippines is sticking to diplomatic solutions in resolving the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
For the full interview, listen to the attached audio clip from Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
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