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No cabinet-level official of Marcos Admin agreed to any Chinese proposal on Ayungin Shoal – DFA
No cabinet-level official of Marcos Admin agreed to any Chinese proposal on Ayungin Shoal – DFA
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No cabinet-level official of Marcos Admin agreed to any Chinese proposal on Ayungin Shoal – DFA
by Karen Ow-Yong07 May 2024
Screenshot courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)

MANILA – No cabinet-level official of the current administration has agreed to any Chinese proposal pertaining to the Ayungin Shoal.

This was confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a statement issued Tuesday, saying that as far as the Philippine Government is concerned, “no such document, record or deal exists, as purported by the Chinese Embassy.”

In the same statement, the DFA emphasized that only the President can approve or authorize agreements entered into by the government.

“The DFA wishes to emphasize that only the President of the Republic of the Philippines can approve or authorize agreements entered into by the Philippine Government on matters pertaining to the West Philippine and South China”, the statement read.

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Courtesy of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

The DFA released an earlier statement this week saying that it is not aware of any “new model” arrangement being referred to by the Chinese Embassy in Manila with regards to the Ayungin Shoal.

According to the statement, the DFA is 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.

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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.

This is in reaction to the statement released by the China’s Embassy in Manila, saying 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.

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The Chinese Embassy also claims that 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.

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