MANILA, July 11 — Malacañang on Tuesday said that Philippines and China have been in dialogue since The Hague ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) last year.
At a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella pointed out that the two countries have been in dialogue to find a mutually acceptable diplomatic solution over issues in the disputed territory.
“Last May 2017, both countries conducted the first meeting of the Philippines-China Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea, both sides reiterating their commitment to cooperate and to find ways to strengthen the trust and confidence on issues related to WPS,” he said.
“The Philippines and China have reviewed their experience on the West Philippine Sea issue, exchanged views on the current issues of concern to either side, and they have agreed that they will further discuss mutually acceptable approaches to deal with them,” Abella said.
According to the Palace, the Philippines and China will have their next meeting in the second half of 2017.
Abella’s statements followed concerns that nothing or very little has happened since the PCA issued its ruling.
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China’s claims of historic rights within the nine-dash line, which Beijing uses to demarcate its claims in the South China Sea, were without legal foundation.
The panel also ruled that Beijing’s activities within the Philippines’ two-hundred-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) infringed on Manila’s sovereign rights.
Meanwhile, Malacañang assured that lingering concerns by Filipino fishermen of being harassed in disputed waters would be part of the next meeting between the two countries.
“I’m sure items like that will be considered. However, it’s excellent that we are now in dialogue with the other country,” Abella said. (Cielito M. Reganit/PNA)