Duterte government’s policy on China unchanged
MANILA – After Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin’s statement last Sunday, the 4th anniversary of the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision on the country’s case on the South China Sea that it is “non-negotiable,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said nothing has changed.
It will be recalled US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, in his remarks released last Monday, said China’s claims to the islands and resources at the South China Sea as “unlawful” because the world’s second biggest economy has not adhered to the 1982 UNCLOS.
This statement elicited a fiery reaction from the People’s Republic of China’s Washington Embassy’s spokesperson who said the United States is escalating tension in the South China Sea in the guise of pushing for freedom of navigation and overflight.
“We will agree to disagree on the Arbitral award but it is not the sum-total of our bilateral relations with China,” he said.
He added the Philippines and China will move on specific areas in the economy and investments.
“We will put on hold what we cannot agree on these days and President Duterte’s position on the issue has not changed,” Secretary Roque concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)
Presidential Spokesperson Secretary arry Roque. (Screen grab from Malacanang Briefing/PTV4-PCOO)