MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday said it will not take statements made by Chinese officials at face value especially in relation to the country's claims on the disputed South China Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said that China will not take the first shot amid rising tension in the disputed waters.
We do not take words of other countries on their face value. The President will always think beyond those words, Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
The President is mandated to protect the security of this country, as well as the Filipino people, hence he will anticipate what may come out of any aggressive action that this country may undertake vis-A�-vis the conflict in that area, he added.
Asked if the Palace also takes Chinese President Xi Jinping's earlier warning to President Rodrigo Duterte that there would be trouble if the Philippines would undertake oil explorations in the West Philippine Sea at face value, Panelo replied: We took it as an anticipation of what may happen.
Even without those saying that, we always think of the security of the Filipino people, Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, reiterated that the best way to resolve the sea row between the Philippines and China is through bilateral negotiations.
He earlier said bilateral negotiations are meant to ensure the safety of the Filipinos from possible armed conflict.
We will repeat our position. We said that the conflict in that region will be the subject of continuous negotiation between the two countries. And by such mechanism, we hope to solve and/or resolve the conflict, whatever they are, Panelo said.
During the 92nd founding anniversary celebration of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Makati on Monday, Zhao stressed China's principle of defense, self-defense and post-strike response.
China adopts a military strategy of active defense which adheres to the principle of defense, self-defense and post-strike response. Meaning we will not take the first shot, Zhao said.
Zhao said China develops its military to defend the country, provide the people with a peaceful environment, and ensure its citizens are free from the disasters and calamities of war. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency