Malacañang rejects call for bilateral talks
MANILA, Feb 26 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Wednesday rejected the call of the Chinese government for bilateral negotiations in connection with the alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen at the disputed Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal by Chinese authorities.
Instead, the Philippines will pursue the arbitration case it filed before the United Nations (UN), according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Wednesday.
During a press conference, Valte said the government is already preparing the memorial – or written pleading – for submission. The memorial will be the country’s formal statement regarding China’s claim of sovereignty over territories in the South China Sea.
“So essentially, the memorial is already being prepared. While I can tell you generally that it will contain the position of government when it comes to this, I cannot delve into specifics,” she said.
“[But] I think we have already made a solid case before the international community,” Valte added.
The Philippines, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), has filed a diplomatic protest against China over several cases of harassment of Filipino fishermen, including last month’s water cannon attack, in Manila-claimed Panatag Shoal off the South China Sea.
China, meanwhile, has urged the Philippines “to work with the Chinese side to resolve differences through bilateral consultations and negotiations.”(MNS)