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PH still open to diplomatic relations with China over maritime row

Armed Forces of the Philippines.jpg
Philippine Navy ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15) sails in the West Philippine Sea as part of the second Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) between the AFP and the US Indo-Pacific Command held from Jan. 3 to 4, 2024. (Photo: AFP)

The Philippine government expressed openness to resolve its maritime tension with China through peaceful means, according to its top security adviser.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año made the remark in view of the recent statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry which expressed concerns about the latest maritime cooperative activity (MCA) between Manila and Washington held from Jan. 3 to 4.

The MCA, the second of such iteration following the first activity in November last year, and one that was highlighted by a joint patrol in WPS, was deemed as “irresponsible” and “provocative” by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“The Philippines remains open to diplomatic discussions with China and reaffirms its commitment to fostering good relations with all nations. We believe that through peaceful dialogue and adherence to international law, we can achieve a resolution that serves the best interests of all parties involved in the region,” Año said on Friday, Jan. 5.

The NSA clarified that the joint maritime activities between Manila and Washington were conducted within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and as such they are seen as consistent with international law.

“So how can they be provocative?” Año wondered.

He further stated that the Philippines was merely exercising its sovereign right to engage in cooperative activities with its allies within its territory “to ensure the security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“Our joint patrols with the United States and potential future activities with other allied countries show our mutual commitment to a rules-based international order and for promoting peace and stability in the region,” the NSA stressed.

“It also demonstrates the significant improvement in the Philippines’ defense capabilities and the development of a world-class navy and armed forces capable of carrying out its mandate to defend the territorial integrity of the Philippines and our maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

The MCA included joint activities between the AFP and US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) such as cross-deck maneuvers or personnel transfers.

The AFP deployed assets including BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), and AW109 helicopter while the USINDOCPACOM deployed its Carrier Strike Group-1, led by the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN70).

The MCA, however, was marred by the shadowing of Chinese ships, according to the AFP.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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