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Ph-China relations “choppy”; disputes should be managed through diplomatic means - DFA
Ph-China relations “choppy”; disputes should be managed through diplomatic means - DFA
Ph-China relations “choppy”; disputes should be managed through diplomatic means - DFA
by Karen Ow-Yong23 May 2024
Photo courtesy of Avito C. Dalan / PNA.

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) admits relations between the Philippines and China have deteriorated recently but managing disputes should still be done through diplomatic means.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo described the relations as “choppy” lately and that the country has been putting in the effort to assert its rights, particularly within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippines Sea.

Manalo also admits that China “has not been helping amidst efforts of the Philippines to try and manage tensions and disputes through diplomatic and peaceful means.”

The Secretary was referring to the recent issue of the alleged wiretapping by Chinese diplomats in Manila regarding a conversation on what China claims as a “new model” and “ gentleman’s agreement” on managing tensions in the West Philippine Sea.


“China is not really helping us to do so. That’s the challenge because of the many incidents that have occurred. So that’s the challenge for us on how to do that, but we are still definitely committed to seeking diplomatic means to manage our tensions,” Manalo stated.

Adding to the tension is the reported harassment and bullying of China Coast Guard vessels and Chinese militia vessels on Filipino fishermen in the vicinity or near Scarborough Shoal; and resupply missions to military personnel on Ayungin Shoal.

"We're merely trying to assert our rights and unfortunately, we are being hampered in doing so. And I, in my personal belief, this is creating the tensions,” Manalo added.

Manalo reiterated that such actions are viewed as illegal and not consistent with international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Arbitral Ruling Award in 2016.


He added that “the Philippines will continue to assert our rights in the appropriate way and not just the Foreign Affairs.”

“This is a government-wide effort and the President [Marcos] made it very clear that our priority is to assert our national sovereignty especially where it is justified,” Manalo affirmed.

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