Palace relies on China's good faith amid Beijing's launch of island-maker
Malacanang is relyng on China's good faith it will not dredge areas in South China Sea, including Scarborough Shoal, being claimed by the Philippines, particularly using its newly launched island-maker ship, an official said on Tuesday.
"Well, the president recognizes the principle of good faith in international relations," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
He recalled that China has told President Rodrigo Duterte that they did not intend to reclaim Scarborough "and we leave it at that."
Scarborough is found off Zambales within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including Scarborough Shoal.
"We need to rely on good faith because otherwise there would be no predictability in international relations," he said when asked if the government is not concerned about China's 140-meter-long ship, Tian Kun Hao, said to be the biggest dredger vessel in Asia.
It has been sailing in the disputed waters.
Roque said the Philippines was not just trusting China as "we have a decision, the last time I checked. And that decision remains unchanged."
He was referring to the decision of the president to put at the back burner in the meantime the award of the arbitral tribunal to the Philippines declaring China's sovereign claim in almost the whole of South China Sea invalid.
"The president has opted to maintain very close and cordial relationship with China. I think, we are seeing new heights in terms of Philippine-Chinese relations and it has resulted in very tangible results particularly economic investments," he said.
China's island-maker has been described as a massive dredging ship capable of building artificial islands like what Beijing constructed in the disputed waters. Celerina Monte/DMS