Philippines not giving up claim in SCS despite China' war threat: Palace
Malacanang reiterated on Monday that the Duterte administration is not giving up its claim in the South China Sea despite China's threat to go to war if the Philippines would insist the arbitral ruling and drill oil in the disputed waters.
"We are very clear that we are not giving up our claim of sovereignty and sovereign rights over certain islands in the South China Sea, at the same time, these matters are pursued in the context of maintaining peace and prosperity in the region," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
He said the "first and last priority" of President Rodrigo Duterte is the national interest and the well-being of the Filipinos.
"The Philippines and China are committed to peaceful resolutions to socio-economic, and political challenges, and the recently concluded meet on the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism is one platform for confidence-building measures, to address issues pertaining to the South China Sea," Abella said.
Duterte, in a speech in Davao City last Friday, revealed that during his recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the latter warned him not to force China to go to war with the Philippines by insisting on the award by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and extracting oil in South China Sea.
The Philippines has been claiming parts of the South China Sea, which are within its 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone.
The arbitral tribunal ruled in July last year that the Philippines has sovereign rights over its EEZ, invalidating China's historic claim in almost the entire South China Sea.
In a statement, former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines should “prepare for a dual response.”
Del Rosario said this should consist of “heeding the advice of Justice Antonio Carpio to file a protest with the United Nations and revisiting the joint patrolling of our EEZ with the United States and other partners.” Celerina Monte/DMS