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DFA not aware of “new model” arrangement referred by Chinese Embassy on Ayungin Shoal issue
DFA not aware of “new model” arrangement referred by Chinese Embassy on Ayungin Shoal issue
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DFA not aware of “new model” arrangement referred by Chinese Embassy on Ayungin Shoal issue
by Karen Ow-Yong06 May 2024
Screenshot courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is not aware of any “new model” arrangement being referred to by the Chinese Embassy in Manila with regards to the Ayungin Shoal.

This is according to a statement released by the DFA on Sunday, reiterating its firm position that the Philippines has not entered into any agreement abandoning its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, including the Ayungin Shoal.

The DFA added that on issues of such importance, any agreements or arrangements would be made only if authorized at the highest level of government.

The statement further mentions that both the Secretary of National Defense (DND) and the National Security Adviser denies the existence of any informal arrangements on the Ayungin Shoal.

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According to the DFA, such denial only shows the “untruthfulness of China’s narrative.”

“China should desist from disseminating among the Filipino public and distract from the real issues created by China’s unfounded claims, and illegal and aggressive actions in our waters,” the statement read.

DFA also mentions that the Philippines is still seeking ways to reduce tensions with China through established diplomatic channels.

The DFA challenges China in its sincerity and seriousness about properly managing the difference at sea by urging China to “favorably consider the standing Philippine invitation to convene the next meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM-SCS) as soon as possible.”

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Courtesy of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

“New model”, “Gentlemen’s Agreement”

Earlier, China reiterated its commitment to properly managing maritime differences through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines and claims that it has made relentless efforts in this regard.

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In a statement, China’s Embassy in Manila said that the “gentlemen’s agreement” is a concrete outcome of such efforts and that both sides “agreed” on a “new model” for the management of the situation at what it calls Renái Jiao, known in the Philippines as Ayungin Shoal.

“To follow up on the important consensus between the two heads-of-state to deescalate tension in the South China Sea, the Chinese side and the Philippine side through AFP WESCOM agreed on a “new model” for the management of the situation at Ren'ai Jiao early this year after multiple rounds of discussions,” the Embassy stated.

The Chinese Embassy continues to mention that the “gentlemen’s agreement” or the “new model” is a confidence-building measure aimed at managing disputes, avoiding conflicts and maintaining peace, and has nothing to do with each other's sovereign positions.

“During the discussion, the AFP WESCOM has made repeated confirmation that the “new model” has been approved by all key officials in the Philippine chain of command, including the Secretary of National Defense and the National Security Advisor,” the Chinese Embassy said.

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The communication and negotiation on this subject matter is kept on record in every detail by the Chinese side. Thanks to the “new model”, frontliners of both sides had guidance to follow on how to interact with each other, which made the resupply mission on last February 2 a smooth one, the Embassy explains.

The AFP Spokesperson described this resupply mission as “flawless” in a post on social media X on the same day. Positive efforts of the frontliners in this regard are commendable, the Chinese Embassy added.

The post on social media platform X being referred to by the Chinese Embassy was that of AFP Spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth A. Padilla.

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