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Ang tapang ah! Palace asserts rights in disputed South China Sea

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang on Friday asserted the arbitral tribunal’s ruling on the South China Sea (SCS) after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that the territorial disputes between China and the Philippines should be resolved by peaceful means.

In 2015, the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines and against China’s historic rights in the SCS.

The Tribunal alao said China violated the sovereignty of the Philippines over its Exclusive Economic Zone.

“While we concur with the Chinese official’s statement that the dispute can be best threshed out through peaceful negotiation and consultation between the two countries just as it will strengthen the Philippines-China relationship towards a solid partnership beneficial to Filipino and Chinese communities, the arbitral ruling however has already been rendered and we remain steadfast in maintaining our claims with respect to our territory and exclusive economic zones pursuant not only to the said arbitral judgment based on accepted principles of public international law but consistent with the directives of our Constitution and the aspirations of the Filipino people,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

On Thursday, Lu claimed that Spratlys Islands are “within China’s territory, for which we have sufficient historical and legal basis.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier filed diplomatic notes over the presence of Chinese vessels sailing around Philippine-occupied Pagasa Island, one the largest features in the Spratlys.

Panelo said China should “avoid performing acts that will place at risk the Filipino fishermen fishing in the disputed areas and at the same time cause irritants that will disrupt the current friendly relations of the two countries as well as imperil future bilateral negotiations on matters of mutual concern.”

The Palace, he added, expects Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. to come up with a statement on the matter.

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