Palace supports US presence in disputed waters if it will provide peace, stability
Malacanang said on Tuesday it supports the presence of the United States in the South China Sea as long as it would bring peace and stability in the area.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte has not changed his position that as far as the Philippines is concerned, parts of the South China Sea belong to the Philippines as ruled by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
He also said the Philippines wants stability in the region.
"Philippines’ position is that every country has the right to use the waters in the South China Sea as well as the air space. And we want peace and quiet in that area. So anything that will provide such kind of atmosphere we are for it. If the presence of the US will make it so, then that’s good for all of us - all of the claimants," he said when asked if the Philippines wants the US to maintain its presence in the disputed waters.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in a recent forum in Singapore, said that America would no longer "tiptoe" around Chinese behavior as stability in Asia has been threatened on issues, such as the South China Sea.
Panelo said US seemed to be just engaged on "posturing" as nothing has happened yet.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including those areas within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone of other countries, like the Philippines. Celerina Monte/DMS