Philippines’ says China’s maritime-related proposals run contrary to its interests

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 9:12 PM

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippine foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had received several maritime-related proposals from China, but added they could not be considered because they were against the Southeast Asian country’s national interests.

The foreign ministry said among the proposals from China was one where it “insisted on actions that would be deemed as acquiescence or recognition of China’s control and administration over the (Second Thomas Shoal)” and that the Philippines could not consider such a proposal “without violating the constitution or international law”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was responding to a Manila Times news article quoting an unnamed “ranking Chinese official” as saying that Beijing’s proposals to normalise the situation in disputed areas in the South China Sea were “met with inaction” by the Philippine government.

“From the outset, DFA wishes to underscore that the Philippines is approaching these confidential negotiations with utmost sincerity and good faith,” it said. “We were, therefore, surprised by China’s disclosure of sensitive details of our bilateral discussions.”

China presented 11 concept papers which proposed ways to manage the Second Thomas Shoal and fishing issues in Scarborough Shoal, the Manila Times reported, quoting the Chinese official.

The foreign ministry denied the Chinese official’s claims, saying, “in no way did the Philippine Government ignore China’s proposals.”

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)