Lorenzana denies alleged commitment of Philippines to remove vessel in Ayungin Shoal
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied having knowledge on alleged commitment of the Philippines to remove its grounded vessel in Ayungin Shoal as claimed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"I don’t know. I'll have to ask the people during that time," he told defense reporters on Thursday.
A spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday China is demanding the Philippines honor its ''commitment to remove'' the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal.
But Lorenzana said it is China that trespassed the territorial waters of the Philippines as he reiterates the country's sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea.
"Ayungin lies inside our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) which we have sovereign rights. Our EEZ was awarded to us by the 1982 UNCLOS which China ratified. China should abide by its international obligations that it is part of. Furthermore, the Arbitral award ruled that the territorial claim of China has no historic nor legal basis," he said.
''Ergo, we can do whatever we want there and it is they who are actually trespassing. We have two documents that proves our sovereign rights within our EEZ while what they only have is baseless claims," he added.
In its statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China's position in the removal of the grounded vessel "remains unchanged" and that the "delivery of food and other supplies is a provisional, special arrangement out of humanitarian considerations." Robina Asido/DMS