Skip to main content

Chinese envoy miscommunicated 'deal' on Scarborough withdrawal: DFA

MANILA, Philippines - Information relayed to China regarding moves by both Manila and Beijing to withdraw from a standoff in a disputed territory off Zambales was "not complete" and "misleading."

This was announced by Raul Hernandez, the Philippines' foreign affairs spokesperson during a press briefing on Monday.

Information that Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing had relayed to Beijing about the agreement to withdraw from the Scarborough Shoal was "not complete" and "misleading," Hernandez said. The move to withdraw from the territory was discussed by both Ma and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

"There was no such agreement. That was still being discussed. There was also no agreement on the poaching of the Chinese fishing ships which illegally collected big amounts of endangered species in the area," Hernandez said.

The agreement between the two officials was for "no actions that would tend to escalate the situation," he added.

As of Monday morning, three Chinese fishing vessels were spotted inside the lagoon where eight similar ships were first seen on April 8, with one Chinese surveillance ship monitored in the Scarborough Shoal, Hernandez said.

During the previous day, four Chinese fishing vessels and two Chinese government ships were in the area.

The Philippine Coast Guard BRP Pampanga is also in the area monitoring the activities in the area, including poaching and other activities deemed illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) and the Philippines' own Fisheries Code, the DFA spokesman said.

The DFA has yet to receive any report of poaching and other illegal activities.

The DFA spokesman also revealed that since the meeting in Manila on April 16 and in Beijing on April 18, no additional meetings at the diplomatic level have been scheduled as the two parties are probably waiting for the right timing.

'Philippines ready to go to ITLOS alone'

While the Philippines is still pursuing a diplomatic solution to the two-week Scarborough standoff, it is now preparing for a legal solution--- raising the issue before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas or ITLOS, Hernandez said.

This track has been verbally and officially relayed to China some months back when the DFA Secretary was in China to meet with his counterpart, and again in the meeting on April 16 between Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio and Ambassador Ma in the hope of reaching an "enduring resolution."

Unofficially, Secretary del Rosario has publicly invited China to the ITLOS over the weekend.

Although the Philippines is still "looking into" putting the ITLOS option in writing, Hernandez said: "If China does not want to go to ITLOS, the Philippines is prepared to go at it alone. (When) the legal team is ready to file, then we will file."

The diplomatic tractkis still multilateral as the area is contested by other countries as well, he said.

Aside from China and the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam are also claimants to parts of the West Philippine Sea (also known as South China Sea).

No new ambassador-designate to China yet

As the Scarborough standoff continues, Del Rosario has already "somebody in mind" to nominate as the Philippines' ambassador to China, said Hernandez, who added that he has not been told who this would be.

This person is from the ranks of career diplomats and knows about the issue and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas. Del Rosario was unable to attend the press conference at the DFA after spraining his ankle in Malacañang and has been advised to rest.

| April 23, 2012 | Article Link


More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.

According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.

Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…