Palace: Philippines still friendly with China

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2014 09:48 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2014 05:48 AM

MANILA - After days of tension with China over disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, Malacanang on Thursday said Manila remains friendly towards Beijing.

“When President Aquino visited China in 2011 he also stated that the totality of Philippine-China relations is not defined by the West Philippine Sea," Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

"Philippine foreign policy is anchored upon principles of amity, friendship and cooperation. The decision to seek peaceful avenues in the settlement of disputes, including arbitration, is consistent with these principles," he added.

Coloma pointed out a statement attributed to the Chinese embassy in Manila.

“We note a statement made by the PRC Embassy spokesperson, Mr. Zhang Hua: 'Territorial and maritime disputes are not the entirety of the China-Philippines relationship. The underlying trend of this relationship remains good neighborliness and friendship. China-Philippines friendship has a long and profound history and enjoys strong and extensive public support'.”

Tension between the 2 countries rose after the Philippines filed its memorial before an organ of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in connection with its arbitration case against China.

China is staking historical claims over the waters, but the Philippines cites the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in staking its claim over waters within its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Over the weekend, a Philippine ship successfully resupplied the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.

An earlier attempt by the Philippines to restock the ship failed because Chinese vessels chased ships away.