PHL committed to ongoing talks with China on Scarborough Shoal issue

April 20, 2012 10:28 pm 

MANILA, April 20 — The Aquino government remains committed to ongoing consultations with the People's Republic of China (PROC) toward a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Philippine's Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) situation, a Palace official said on Friday.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang issued the statement during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Friday following news reports that China reportedly rejected the Philippines’ proposal to bring to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) the dispute over the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).

"We continue to discuss the issue with the Chinese government. The Philippine government is determined to find a peaceful solution to this," Carandang said.

He reiterated that the country exercises full sovereignty and jurisdiction over the rocks of Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag).

"But we’re also equally determined to assert our sovereignty over what is our territory," Carandang said, noting that Bajo de Masinloc is not part of the Spratlys.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Bajo de Masinloc is an integral part of the Philippine territory and part of the Municipality of Masinloc, Province of Zambales. It is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Philippine Continental Shelf.

Carandang said the government remains confident that the ownership dispute between the country and China would be resolved through diplomatic, legal and peaceful means.

"And I’d like to add also, while this issue has immediate implications for us and for China, it also has long-term implications for the rest of the region—for stability in the region," he said.

"In the immediate sense, this is an issue between the Philippines and China. But, in the end, this is an issue that has implications not just for the Philippines but also for other countries who are interested in navigating the South China Sea or, as we call it, the West Philippine Sea. So this is really an international issue," he said. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/rsm

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