Gazmin, Chinese counterpart vow to keep communication lines open

May 29, 2012 10:38 pm 

MANILA, May 29 – As the stand-off between Philippine and Chinese civilian maritime units on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal enter its second month, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and his People's Republic of China counterpart Liang Guanglie vowed to keep their respective communication lines open as part of the two governments respective efforts to deescalate the situation.

Both Gazmin and Liang made this pledge Tuesday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where defense ministers of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were having their yearly talks.

China is the dialogue partner of ASEAN along with South Korea and Japan.

Liang also encouraged both parties to play a positive role in resolving the situation by staying calm and issuing prudent remarks in order “to avoid overstatements and misinterpretations.”

The stand-off in Panatag Shoal remains as ships from both China and the Philippines refuse to leave the area with China even doubling the number of ships in the territory, which is only 124 nautical miles away from Zambales.

The stand-off began on April 10 when the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar accosted eight Chinese fishing boats in the shoal which China responded to by sending several of its civilian vessels. (PNA)

RMA/PFN

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