MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday that the Philippines is sticking to its goal of “peacefully managing” its maritime disputes with China despite continued aggression and incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
In an ambush interview, Manalo noted that the DFA will not make the differences between Manila and Beijing in the South China Sea the “only factor” between the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
“We have made that very clear. Our goal is to manage our disputes peacefully and through international law,” Manalo told reporters.
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“We have a complex and big relationship with China, so every day we see how to manage it,” he added.
Manalo also commented on the Chinese installation of a floating barrier at Scarborough Shoal on September 22, witnessed by patrolling personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The PCG removed the floating barrier on the orders of President Ferdiannd Marcos Jr.
“I only read it in the newspaper, but it’s true. Technically, we have the right to exercise our sovereignty and our sovereign rights, so it would have been a step consistent with our position. But we are still waiting for the full report,” he said.
READ: PCG: No standoff with China after removing floating barrier in South China Sea