Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DFA asks Senate for executive session on real score in Panatag Shoal

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario on Tuesday asked the Senate Committee on Finance for an executive session after Senator Manny Villar insisted that he reveal the real score on the country’s maritime dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

At the budget hearing of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Villar asked Del Rosario to give a quick briefing on the latest situation in the Panatag Shoal, where Philippine and Chinese boats have been engaged in a standoff since early April.

Del Rosario said the DFA has a three-track approach on the issue with China in order to solve the dispute peacefully, but sought an executive session considering the sensitiveness of the matter.

“We have a three-track approach. One is the political approach. In this political approach, we are utilizing ASEAN , we are also utilizing international partners; the second is the legal approach, we are looking at how to pursue a dispute settlement mechanism under UNCLOS. And thirdly, we are trying to pursue a diplomatic strategy that involves bilateral consultations,” he explained.

“May I ask Sir, if I can provide a full briefing on exactly where we are in terms of the challenges presented by the South China Sea under an executive session? I think that it would be more appropriate, and I would be able to share with you complete information in terms of how to assess the situation,” Del Rosario said.

The DFA chief said the country looks at China as a friend, neighbor, a partner and welcomes its emergence as a prosperous country with a strong economy, and a strong military but at the same time, “we also hope that . . . China is a responsible nation.

On the economic side, Del Rosario said the Banana issue is a technical one spurred by Beijing’s banning of the entry of Philippine bananas on phytosanitary grounds, but which some quarters view as sanctions related to the maritime row.-Interaksyon (August 14, 2012 6:58PM)

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