Palace leaves China’s new activities in WPS to DFA

MANILA MalacaAang on Monday said necessary diplomatic protest will be undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) if report is true that China has started operations of weather stations on its artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

Certainly, the DFA will do its work and make the necessary diplomatic protest, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.

Panelo said the South China Morning Post's report that China has installed the weather stations on the disputed Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Zamora (Subi) and Panganiban (Mischief) Reefs must be confirmed first.

These are news reports. We have not validated that. But if they are validated, I'm sure the new Secretary of foreign Affairs will do his job, Panelo said.

We will have to ask the DFA Secretary. I would not want to preempt, he added.

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Philippines' permanent representative to the United Nations Teodoro Locsin Jr. to replace DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who will run as congressman of Taguig in the 2019 mid-term elections.

Asked about the international arbitration's ruling on WPS, Panelo said it would be up to Duterte to decide if he will assert the Philippines' victory when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Manila this month.

We'll have to leave it with the President's judgment on when and where the perfect time would be made. He has six years within which to do it, he said.

On July 12, 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court Arbitration (PCA) released its decision, nullifying China's nine-dash line map which covers nearly the whole of WPS.

China had rejected the ruling, prompting Duterte to temporarily shelve it to allow peaceful and friendly dialogues that eventually revived China-Philippines relations.

The Filipino leader, however, said he would assert the PCA's verdict before his six-year term ends 2022.

Panelo said he believes it would not be too late for the Philippines to assert because the arbitrational award will be there forever.

It can never too late when you protest on a particular thing, especially when the award is yours, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency