Duterte committed to peaceful process in dealing with sea dispute – Palace

MANILA-- MalacaAang on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is committed to a process of engagement and negotiations in dealing with its maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, even while stressing that direct confrontation is not in the best interest of the country.

The President and his Cabinet are working with the governments of all nations with legitimate interests in the South China Sea to ensure that our national interests are protected and the region remains a zone of peace, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a Palace briefing.

Confrontation does not serve the interests of our country and that is why we are committed to a process of engagement and negotiation that will ensure that our rights are respected and protected well into the future, Abella said.

The Palace official issued the statement after Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the government was not doing enough to press our claims in the disputed sea.

The President has respect for Justice Carpio, and he can assure the Justice and the people of the Philippines that the policies of this administration are not only directed at protecting the sovereignty of the Republic. They also directed that ensuring that our nation and our region remains conflict-free, Abella said.

He added that President Duterte sees these two objectives as complementary and in the best interests of our country, pointing out that the current China policy of the administration has achieved substantive progress in talks in Beijing, reduced tensions and expanded economic cooperation between the two countries.

Source: Philippines News Agency