Cayetano: No Chinese ‘invasion’ of PH territory

MANILA -- Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday denied any invasion that took place in the Philippine territory following reports that China allegedly invaded a sandbar near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the agency's PHP19.57-billion 2018 budget briefing at the House of Representatives, Cayetano also reassured the public that the problem within the conflict area has already been resolved diplomatically.

So let me assure you wala ng problema dun sa area na 'yun. Kung nagkaproblema naman, it has been resolved diplomatically. But it is not true that there was an attempt na i-invade or agawin (yung territory), Cayetano said.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier claimed that two frigates, a coast guard vessel, and two fishing boats of China were guarding Sandy Cay, 2.5 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island.

Carpio described the move as an invasion of Philippine territory by China.

Cayetano noted that the department has taken all diplomatic actions necessary but refused to divulge any further details about the situation.

The country's top diplomat reiterated that the mere presence of Chinese vessels does not mean anything and should not be a cause for alarm.

So let me assure you that despite the lack of details that we give you, we will tell you if there's an alarming situation, or if the public is in danger, or if we are going to take or step up certain actions that need the public's support or at the very least knowledge, Cayetano said.

The DFA chief said the Duterte administration has been consistent with its efforts to uphold the country's territorial claims, as well as its claims for sovereignty and economic rights.

We're not giving up a single inch of our territory, Cayetano said.

Source: Philippine News Agency