Wednesday, 01 February 2012 13:39
The Philippines remains committed in ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region in the midst of a stronger military cooperation with the United States.
“From our point of view we continue to be committed to ensuring peace and stability in the region. And again in connection to whatever disputes that we may have our commitment remains firm that we will pursue every diplomatic channel, avenue and recourse that we may be able to solve it peacefully,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the press conference in Malacanang on Monday.
Valte made this statement in reaction to a question whether China has something to worry about with regards to the Philippines’ commitment towards peace and stability in the region.
Valte said the Philippines will not compromise the peace in the region even as the country forges bilateral relations with other countries.
On Sunday, China’s state media said the Chinese government should impose “sanctions” against the Philippines after the latter offered to allow more US troops on its soil. The statement came in the midst of growing tensions over the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
But Valte reiterated that dispute on the West Philippine Sea is a small facet of the good relationship between China and the Philippines. She said the Philippines has been pursuing several other relationships with China such as tourism and trade which was bolstered by President Aquino’s visit there last year.
The President’s spokesperson also reiterated that the discussion on the expanded presence of the US in the region is something that is still in the early stages of talks.
“Nothing is final yet. We have expressed several initiatives mainly on how to assist us to boost our defense capabilities. Again, as we stated earlier, we really do need to catch up with our neighbors when it comes to our defense capabilities,” she said.
China, Philippines, and Vietnam, have rival claims to parts of the West Philippine Sea, an area located in the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to hold vast deposits of fossil fuel. Other claimants to the disputed Spratly Islands include Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.
Last year, the Philippines and Vietnam complained on what they said were increasingly aggressive acts by China in the decades-long rift.
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