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After filing the arbitration, Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario said, “It is about defending what is legitimately ours”.
Meanwhile Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday that China urges the Philippines to adhere to their earlier consensus and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
“Regardless of how the Philippines packages its complaint, the direct cause of the dispute is illegal occupation of reefs in the South China Sea on the part of the Philippines,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Instead, Beijing is stressing on bilateral talks to resolve the dispute.
China claims it has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters according to the “nine-dash line” that it has delineated at the South China Sea, waters which carry around half of the world’s trade and possibly contains rich reserves of oil and gas.
Philippines, a major non-NATO ally of the US in the Pacific, has in February this year agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal.
The deal will allow the United States to increase deployment of American troops, ships and aircrafts in the region.
This aids US plans to “rebalance” its forces in Asia-Pacific region for the much-hyped Asia Pivot.
The Philippines had removed the United States out two large military bases in 1991 but is now reconsidering as it’s confrontation with China over the contested waters deepen.
TBP and Agencies