Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Philippines says it will 'secure sovereignty' if challenged by China

(Updated 2:43 p.m.) The Philippines will defend its sovereignty if challenged by China, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday as a Philippine warship was locked in a standoff with two Chinese vessels.
"If the Philippines is challenged, we are prepared to secure our sovereignty," del Rosario told reporters.

In MalacaƱang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the government remains hopeful that the conflict will be resolved peacefully.

He said President Benigno Aquino III was informed of the incident Tuesday night after the state dinner he hosted in honor of Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who was in Manila for a state visit.

“[Aquino] was made aware about the incident last night. With SND (Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin) and some AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) officials last night after dinner,” Lacierda said at a press briefing.

As of Wednesday morning, officials said the Philippine Navy's patrol boat, the
BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was not moving after Chinese maritime surveillance ships placed themselves between the Philippine ship and eight Chinese fishing vessels that were in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal, which both the PHL and China claim.

AFP with Amita O. Legaspi/KBK, GMA News | April 11, 2012 | Article Link