Philippines never abandoned bilateral talks with China over sea dispute – Sec. Yasay
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said some of his counterparts expressed concern over the alleged continued militarization in the West Philippine Sea.
Secretary Yasay said, “On the South China Sea, a number of ministers expressed concern over recent developments and escalation of activity in the area which may further raise tensions and erode trust and confidence in the region.”
Thus, some of the foreign ministers believe it is important for the Philippines to continue having dialogues with China to resolve the territorial dispute in the region.
During the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or Foreign Ministers Retreat on Boracay Island on Tuesday, Yasay said they are focusing now on bigger aspects of ASEAN integration since discussions on the West Philippine Sea dispute remain on deadlock.
Yasay added,“Since the decision of our dispute in the South China Sea is not the sum total of our relationship with China, we set it aside. We started to pursue the bigger aspects of our relationship which is promoting trade, promoting investments and pursuing to the hilt those areas where we have a convergence of natural interest to make sure that we could come up with something most beneficial mutually for the parties concerned.”
Despite this, the foreign ministers still insist on the importance of resolving the issue through peaceful means and according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Sec. Yasay said the Philippines is ready to have bilateral talks with China, which shall be conducted at the right time.
“The arbitral tribunal ruling in July 12, 2016 is something that we will have to pursue with China through bilateral engagements and we have not abandoned that.”
Meanwhile, ASEAN senior officials together with representatives from the Philippines will have a meeting in the United States in May.
Sec. Yasay said he hopes to personally talk with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during the said meeting.
“I would hope that this could be done as soon as possible. It would be very important for us as I am sure it will be important for the United States in our desire to forge closer ties and closer relationships with the two countries.” — Jun Soriao, UNTV News & Rescue
(L-R) Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano met with his Chinese counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday.
During the said meeting, China agreed to prudently advance cooperation with the Philippines on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.
Wang also hopes to turn the disputed territory into a source of friendship and cooperation.
“The South China Sea controversy will be turned into a source of friendship and cooperation and we will jointly uphold regional peace and stability,” said the Chinese foreign minister.
For his part, Cayetano said he is confident that the countries would find a suitable legal framework on future explorations in the South China Sea.
“The Philippines and China are finding a common legal framework to conduct joint exploration and surveys. And with our discussions today, I’m confident that we will find a suitable legal framework for our two countries,” said Cayetano.
The two countries in February agreed to set up a special panel to work out how they can jointly explore offshore oil and gas in areas both sides claim, without needing to address the touchy issue of sovereignty.
The area is currently under a territorial dispute.
China claims most of the South China Sea, a key trade route and home to areas that are believed to hold large quantities of oil and natural gas. Along with China, parts of the South China Sea are subject to competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not given permission to anyone yet to conduct marine scientific research in any territorial water of the Philippines.
This is while DFA is studying the process of approving application of other countries to conduct scientific research in Philippine territory.
Before the year ends, the DFA will submit a proposed executive order to President Rodrigo Duterte that contains the policy of allowing other nations to conduct research in Philippine territorial waters.
The foreign affairs department said it has filed before the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Features Names (SCUFN) its opposition to China’s move of naming the underwater features of the Philippine Rise last February.
“We have already conveyed to SCUFN through our embassy in Paris our objection and non-recognition of the names,” said DFA Asec. Lourdes Yparraguirre.
But some maritime law experts believe it is already too late.
“The question is, which name came first. That’s number one and which name was it already well known,” said Atty. Neil Silva of UP Institute of Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea.
Some senators see nothing wrong with the move of the DFA as long as the claim of the Philippines in the Benham Rise is concerned.
“Pagdating sa soberenya, walang nakikitang problema na itoy pinangalanan sa ibang pangalan,” said Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
(In terms of sovereignty, we see nothing wrong with DFA’s move to name it.)
The senator said the government is already speeding up the process of providing names to five underwater features of the Philippines Rise that China initially named.
“We said we recommend to the President to change the name of the five underwater features. But with the IHO, that will take time. The timetable of the NAMRIA (National Mapping and Resource Information Authority) is until September,” said Gatchalian. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
FILE PHOTO: Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc is having misgivings over China’s assistance to the Philippines that has now reached P6.9-trillion.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate has expressed alarm over the statement of China in one of its state-owned newspaper where it allegedly said the Philippines might use its natural resources as collateral for its loans from China.
Zarate said that China has been wanting to take ownership of the Philippines’ natural gas that is why they continue their marine exploration in the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine Rise.
The Philippines, he said, should not be swayed by China’s offer of a low-interest rate of loans as it may ask for something big in return.
“We are warning the administration not to kowtow to the whims and caprices of China lalo na sa sinasabi na pati ang ating mga natural gas ay isasangla na (especially when they’re saying that even our natural gas will be used as collateral),” said Zarate. — UNTV News & Rescue
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