Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

Taiwan reaffirms sovereignty over South China Sea islands

Taiwan reaffirms sovereignty over South China Sea islands

He said he thinks Duterte's recent remarks signify the positive end result of the Philippines' friendship and negotiations with China.

The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered military reinforcements in South China Sea territory disputed with regional power China, reassuring Beijing, however, that he is not "militarizing" the region.

"As suggested earlier by [Supreme Court Associate] Justice [Antonio] Carpio, spur of the moment statements should be avoided".

Piñol said that officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and scientists will also study whether it is viable "to set up floating structures to serve as rest and refuge area for fishermen and scientists".

"It could be a very thin line since it can be further argued that the Palace is not faithfully executing its role to defend what is ours", he added.

"If they start fighting, we'd be caught in the middle", he said.

"We're just there to claim the islands for us because that is really ours", he said.

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Referring to China, he added, "It gives our northern neighbor the political momentum to persist in its unlawful expansion agenda".

Prior to the Benham Rise incident, Mr. Duterte has been working toward warmer relations with Beijing, even announcing in his state visit in October past year his "separation" from the United States as he pursues a "pivot" towards China and other Asian economies as trading partners.

"Basically, it was a lighthearted way of saying 'we are friends, '" Abella told reporters in Riyadh.

The Philippines scored a landmark victory against China in July past year, when the United Nations arbitral tribunal invalidated Beijing's nine-dash line claim over nearly all of the South China Sea.

He said Manila was trying to maintain the geopolitical balance in the region as well as peace and friendship with Beijing.

China has refused to recognize the ruling, asserting its "indisputable sovereignty" nearly all of the disputed waters.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte is firm on putting structures, including mounting the Philippine flag, in the West Philippine Sea, but emphasized the "Philippines will maintain good relations with the People's Republic of China".

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