MANILA MalacaAang has rejected claims by a maritime law expert that the Philippines is giving too much, too early and too soon in seeking rapprochement with China.
University of the Philippines (UP) Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea director Jay Batongbacal, over the weekend, said that China is gaining too much from the softness of the Philippines on several issues that concern the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) under the Duterte administration.
The Duterte administration has certainly not given up to much, too soon in its relationship with China nor has China gained more than us, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
Roque said that in fact, the administration has upheld national interest and produced tangible benefits for Filipinos in pursuing friendly and mutually beneficial ties with China.
Our people have been able to resume the right to fish in Scarborough (Shoal) and there is peace in the region. This is over and above the increased arrivals of Chinese tourists as well as investment from mainland China, Roque said.
Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration continues to defend the country's sovereignty and sovereign rights when discussing territorial and maritime disputes with China.
Earlier, Roque said that the Philippines is not taking a softer stand on China's continued militarization in the disputed waters.
We are not being soft on China. There are ongoing bilateral talks as far as contentious South China Sea issues are concerned, Roque said.
He pointed out that the Philippine government under the Duterte administration has also been consistently filing protests against China's continued militarization.
Source: Philippine News Agency