Palace: Freedom of navigation in West PH Sea must prevail

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Malacañang on Friday reiterated the need to uphold freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea following a CNN report showing a US surveillance aircraft being shooed away by the Chinese Navy in the area.

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said that while the incident needs to be verified, the Philippines is determined to pursue diplomatic means to settle maritime disputes.

“Hindi natitinag ang ating posisyon hinggil nga sa kahagalahan ng pagpapairal ng freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation, at ng international law dito sa pinag-uusapang lugar. Kaya hindi naman ito naaapektuhan ng mga bagong kaganapan. Sabihin na lang natin na consistent at hindi natitinag ang ating posisyon hinggil dito,” Coloma said.

The Palace also stressed that China’s reclamation activities in South China Sea heightens tensions and that the Philippines will continue to abide by international law and call for a legally binding Code of Conduct that will govern activities in the disputed area.

“Dahil sa pinakahuling insidente nagiging matingkad ‘yung reyalidad ng pagkakaroon ng tensyon at hindi naman natin nais na lumala pa itong tensyon. Habang kinikilala natin na mayroong tensyon, pursigido pa rin tayo at determinado pa rin tayong isulong ‘yung ating posisyon sa pamamagitan ng pagtalima sa international law,” Coloma said.

President Aquino is expected to discuss security developments in Japan when he embarks on a state visit there in June.

Japan is also locked in a territorial dispute with China over the East China Sea.

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  • noz
    22 May 2015 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    china is acting imperious, and in denial of the fact, that the disputed sea areas do not belong to them, it belong to the PH based on international laws miles distance of the islands from the PH. the PH should be the one to shoo these gangsters chinese for trespassing the PH water space. therefore, the PH must go about the business of navigating their own water space 24/7, treat them like backyards of the PH.