Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PHL closely monitoring China's move in territorial dispute vs Japan

The Philippines, through its Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is closely monitoring China's actions regarding its territorial dispute with Japan involving the East China Sea, a MalacaƱang official said Tuesday.

“The DFA is closely monitoring what is happening. The fact that they are going… they are supposedly preparing documents to be submitted, is of interest to us also,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters at a briefing.

The Philippines is locked in similar territorial disputes with China involving the West Philippine Sea.

“While we are not particularly involved in that particular dispute, it is of interest to the Department of Foreign Affairs and they are monitoring that very closely,” Valte added.

China will be forwarding to the United Nations documents "[reflecting] the Chinese government's unwavering determination and will to protect national maritime rights," Deng Zhonghua, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official in charge of boundary and maritime issues, was quoted as saying in a Xinhua news report late Sunday. 

China has initially shunned efforts to include an international court to settle territorial disputes, instead saying such claims should be settled bilaterally between the concerned parties.

Responding to questions on whether the Philippines will submit similar documents supporting its claim, Valte said the DFA has yet to issue statements to that effect.

Meanwhile, following recent reports that DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario has confirmed that there are three Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea, Valte reiterated that the administration has yet to make a decision on how to address the issue.

“There’s no decision made on that yet. I know that you all understand the sensitivity of the situation and the commitment that we have made to de-escalation,” she said.

Valte, however, stressed that having no definite decision is not tantamount to inaction. “The fact that wala pang decision does not mean one way or the other. It just means that there is no decision yet. This is something that you do not take lightly,” she said.-GMA News (September 18, 2012 6:13PM)

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