Philippines to ‘secure sovereignty’ if challenged by China

(BGF) – The Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a press briefing that the Philippines will “secure sovereignty” if it is challenged, as the Inquirer reported. The remark is made after the Philippines Navy surveillance plane found eight Chinese fishing boats anchored inside the Scarborough Shoal, which is protected by two Chinese maritime surveillance ships. 

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Philippines to ‘secure sovereignty’ if challenged by China

April 11, 2012

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A view of Chinese surveillance ships in a standoff with a Philippine warship on the Scarborough Shoal after eight Chinese fishing boats were caught poaching in the disputed territory. The photo was presented by Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, flag officer-in-command, during a press briefing Wednesday April 11, 2012, at the Department of Foreign Affairs. (Photo Credit: PHILIPPINE NAVY HANDOUT)

MANILA, Philippines – 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 a briefing at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

At the same time, Del Rosario said the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest.

Del Rosario said he and Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing met at the DFA earlier in the day to discuss the situation.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said the confrontation happened two days after a Philippine Navy surveillance plane found the eight Chinese fishing boats anchored inside the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal on April 8.

According to the DFA, the Panatag Shoal is an integral part of Philippine territory.

“The Shoal is 124 nautical miles from the nearest basepoint in Zambales province. It is within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf,” the DFA said.

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This situation has remained unchanged as of Wednesday morning, the DFA noted.