The Aquino administration is preparing its official account of recent incursions into the West Philippine Sea that will be sent to China and the United Nations.
“We are completing the data for the report to be presented to the PROC [People’s Republic of China], then to the UN," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message to GMA News Online.
She said the administration intends to bring the issue to the UN attention in relation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. The Department of Foreign Affairs conveyed on Tuesday to the Chinese embassy's charge d'affaires its "serious concerns" on the sightings of Chinese military vessels in Philippine waters.
Valte said the administration will push for a diplomatic solution to any conflict that will arise over the disputed Spratly Islands.
“We wish to stress that the way that we are approaching this incident is that we are fully committed to resolving it in the most diplomatic manner and in a peaceful manner," she said.
According to the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a China Marine Surveillance vessel and other People’s Liberation Army Navy ships were sighted at the vicinity of Iroquois Reef-Amy Douglas Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
The ships reportedly unloaded building materials, erected an undetermined number of posts, and placed a buoy near the breaker of the Amy Douglas Bank.
The Amy Douglas Bank is located southwest of Recto (Reed) Bank and east of Patag (Flat) Island and is well within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone. There are currently no structures on the said bank.
In violation of the ASEAN-China pact
The DFA said the posts and buoy placed by the Chinese at the vicinity of the Amy Douglas Bank are about 26 nautical miles east of Patag Island and 125 nautical mile from mainland Palawan.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario earlier said that “any new construction by China in the vicinity of the uninhabited Amy Douglas Bank is a clear violation of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea."
During a May 27 meeting Filipino diplomats had with the Chinese embassy the DFA conveyed its concern to the Chinese official over reports in state media in Beijing about China’s planned installation of its most advanced oil rig in the South China Sea this coming July.
During that meeting, the DFA asked the Chinese Embassy for the exact planned location of the mega oil rig and pointed out that it should not be placed in Philippine territory or its waters.
DFA officials said the Philippines and China reiterated their respective commitments to the maintenance of peace and stability in the disputed waters and work together to maintain good bilateral relations.
The Philippines recognized that critical to the peace and stability of the West Philippine Sea is the full and faithful implementation of the ASEAN-China DOC on the South China Sea. The DFA also said that it is in the best interest of all claimant countries and the region to transform the area into a Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (ZOPFF/C) through sustained consultations and dialogue.
ZOPFF/C provides a framework for segregating the disputed territorial features which may be considered for collaborative activities from the non-disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with international law, specifically the UNCLOS.