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MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Monday confirmed the presence of three Chinese vessels in Bajo de Masinloc, but said any Philippine action would have to be decided by President Benigno Aquino III.
At the same time, the Philippines is confirming China’s submission of its territorial boundaries at the East China Sea before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, del Rosario said.
This was all del Rosario would say when asked if the reported Chinese action before the UNCLOS, if confirmed to be true, would have a positive impact on China’s own dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Schoal (Bajo de Masinloc) and the Spratlys (Kalayaan Island Group).
“We need to understand. We are requesting the UN post to obtain information (on this),” was his non-committal response.
The Philippines’ position has been to resolve its territorial disputes with China before an independent third party. Until now, China’s position had been to resolve them bilaterally.
Some believe that China’s change in strategy – although this time for its territorial dispute with Japan – could signal a change in its strategy in the South China Sea (or as the West Philippine Sea).
In a related development, del Rosario said Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady is doing well and will soon return to work at the Philippine embassy in Beijing.
Brady would “remain ambassador [to China] until the President appoints” her replacement, del Rosario said.
With Pots de Leon, InterAksyon.com