MALACAÑANG disputed the statement of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue of Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, invoking “for the first time” the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that refuted Beijing’s nine-dash line theory.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Thursday claimed that the Spratly Islands or Nansha Islands to the Chinese are “China’s territory, which is backed by sufficient historical and jurisprudential evidence.”
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said they “concur with the Chinese official’s statement that the dispute can be best threshed out through peaceful negotiation and consultation between the two countries just as it will strengthen the Philippines-China relationship towards a solid partnership beneficial to Filipino and Chinese communities, the arbitral ruling however has already been rendered and we remain steadfast in maintaining our claims with respect to our territory and exclusive economic zones pursuant not only to the said arbitral judgment based on accepted principles of public international law but consistent with the directives of our Constitution and the aspirations of the Filipino people.”
Panelo added that it is our principled stand that the peace in the West Philippine Sea should be maintained and that China should avoid performing acts that will place at risk the Filipino fishermen fishing in the disputed areas and at the same time cause irritants that will disrupt the current friendly relations of the two countries as well as imperil future bilateral negotiations on matters of mutual concern.
“As a matter of protocol, we expect our Philippine counterpart, the Department of Foreign Affairs, to issue an official statement on the matter,” Panelo said.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte told China not to touch Pag-asa Island, part of Philippine territory otherwise he will send “suicide missions.”