Teodoro to Filipinos: Don't lose sight of China's illegal acts in WPS

DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (Philippine News Agency/FILE PHOTO)
MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday reminded Filipinos not to lose sight of China's illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), as debates heat up over the so-called "gentleman's agreement" reportedly made by the former administration with Beijing.
"While we realize that accountability is important in the issue on whether or not a so-called 'gentleman's agreement' was forged with China regarding the BRP Sierra Madre and Ayungin Shoal, we Filipinos must not lose sight of the fact that the main threat to our rights in the WPS is the Chinese Government's illegal activities," Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said in an open letter.
Teodoro also reminded Filipinos not to fall into the trap of "refocusing the debate", which he said is part of Chinese propaganda on the issue.
"Let us not fall into the trap set by Chinese propaganda of refocusing the debate on a so-called promise while deflecting attention away from China's government, thereby freeing and allowing them to continue with their illegal activities in our EEZ (exclusive economic zone)," the DND chief stressed.
Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said former president Rodrigo R. Duterte reportedly had a verbal agreement with China not to construct and repair Philippine facilities in the WPS.
This includes sending construction materials for BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57).
Roque also clarified that this agreement does not involve the towing or removal of the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.
US, PH security execs discuss Chinese harassment
As this developed, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año talked with his United States counterpart, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday, where they discussed a recent spate of illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions by agents of the China Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Militia in the country's EEZ.
In a statement, the National Security Council said Año expressed his appreciation for the United States' continued assurances and reaffirmation of its ironclad commitment to the Philippines-US alliance.
"The two NSAs look forward to the upcoming inaugural Japan-Philippines-United States trilateral leaders' summit in Washington D.C. next week," it added. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Apr-03 07.00 +0800