Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 01:00
ARMED Forces chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa yesterday said the atmosphere at the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal off Zambales, site of a standoff between the Philippines and China since April 10, is improving.
“What I know is that there is a de-escalation of the situation in the area,” Dellosa told reporters in ambush interview Camp Aguinaldo after watching the live telecast of the match between Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Timothy Bradley at the AFP gym.
Dellosa refused to elaborate, saying “we are letting the secretary of foreign affairs (Albert del Rosario) talk about this.” The Department of Foreign Affairs is negotiating with the Chinese for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there are eight Chinese government vessels at the shoal, compared to only two from the Philippines. “They are all outside the lagoon,” he said.
Dellosa said the pullout of one Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel from inside the lagoon last week does not necessarily mean that the Philippines is surrendering the control of the shoal to China.
“We should not give the area to them. As much as possible, we have to resolve this on a peaceful means, in a very diplomatic means. That is what we want…We are asserting our claim there at the Scarborough Shoal. We should not give it to them, that’s ours,” he said.
“We are not leaving (the shoal), we are asserting our claim. The Coast Guard is always there, our BFAR is also there. We are asserting our claim,” added Dellosa of the shoal, which is about 124 nautical miles off Zambales.
Dellosa said China should not take negatively the enhanced defense alliance that was agreed upon by President Aquino and US President Barack Obama in Washington last week.
He said he also discussed the matter with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during the US general’s visit last week.
“This is not intended for China, this is not for them (Chinese). We have a Mutual Defense Treaty with US, that is our basis,” he also said.
View original post here: Scarborough tension easing, says AFP chief – Malaya(source)
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