PH not accepting China’s ‘legal possession’ of WPS – Malacañang
Marje Pelayo • July 26, 2019 • 1324
MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration does not recognize China’s claim of ‘legal possession’ of the West Philippine Sea (WPS), according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
This was Panelo’s response following the statement from Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that the Presidential Spokesperson’s remarks regarding China’s ‘legal possession’ of WPS have weakened the Philippines’ position on the decades-long maritime dispute.
“Kasi by historical right daw, they’ve been there all the while. Kaya hindi ba sinasabi nila? In fact, iyan nga ang argument nila (That’s what they have been saying and that has been their argument),” Panelo said.
When asked if the Philippines recognizes China’s claim, Panelo said: “Of course not!”
“We’re not. As far as we’re concerned, we’ve been ruled to be, owning, that portion of territory or we have the exclusive right to particular territories,” he stressed.
President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his recent state of the nation address (SONA) that China’s reclamation activities in the WPS show claims that it is ‘in possession’ of the disputed waters.
But his top security officials Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon both insisted that what the President meant was China is ‘in position’ in the WPS and not ‘in possession’ of the area.
“Paulit-ulit nang sinasabi ni Presidente (The president has said time and again): According to them [China], they own it. As far as they are concerned, legally, it’s theirs,” Panelo said.
“Tayo naman (While on our part), as far as we are concerned it’s also legally ours. Kaya nga nagkakaroon ng conflict, kasi (That’s why conflict arises because) both of us are claiming. Ang problema lang (The problem here is), as the President repeatedly said and as stated also by the two security defense officials, they are in positional advantage. Kami ni Presidente, (The President and I believe,) they’re in possession – constructive possession because of their military hardware situated there. Iyon ang ibig sabihin noon (That’s what it means),” he concluded. – with details from Rosalie Coz
China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday (July 2) that Britain would bear all consequences for any move it took to offer Hong Kong citizens a path to settlement in the UK.
China reserved the right to act against Britain over the issue, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing, without specifying what countermeasures Beijing might take.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and that Britain would offer around 3 million residents of the former colony a path to British citizenship. (Reuters)
The United Kingdom said on Wednesday (July 1) that China’s imposition of a security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration and called on the People’s Republic to honor its international obligations.
“We have very carefully now assessed the contents of this national security legislation since it was published last night,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Reuters and the BBC.
“It constitutes a clear violation of the autonomy of Hong Kong, and a direct threat to the freedoms of its people, and therefore I’m afraid to say it is a clear and serious violation of the Joint Declaration treaty between the United Kingdom and China.”
Raab said he would set out shortly the action Britain would take with its international partners.
Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule – imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War. (Reuters)
(Production: Will Russell, Hanna Rantala, Polly Rider)
Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 1) held a flag-raising ceremony followed by a speech by Chief Executive Carrie Lam to mark the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese rule, hours after new national security legislation took effect in the financial hub.
“The enactment of the national law is regarded as the most significant development in the relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR since Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland”, the city’s embattled leader said the law was the most important development since the city’s return to Beijing in 1997.
Flanked by current and previous government officials, Lam also said the new law would only affect a small group of people in the Asian financial capital.
There was a heavy presence of law enforcement across the city as the ceremony was underway.
The contentious law will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China’s freest city.
Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests. (Reuters)
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