• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:25am

Philippines 'rejects China deal on disputed shoal' - as China denies making any such offer

Chinese side reportedly offered to withdraw from Scarborough Shoal if Manila did not file document on dispute; Beijing denies any offer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 3:40am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 1:56pm

The Philippines has rejected a Chinese offer to withdraw its ships from the Scarborough Shoal, if Manila did the same and delayed international arbitration on the territorial dispute.

China's offer was made "informally through back channels", Roilo Golez, a former congressman and presidential national security adviser told the South China Morning Post yesterday.

Citing a "very reliable source", Golez said: "The carrot is that there's going to be mutual withdrawal [of ships off Scarborough Shoal] provided the Philippines will not file the memorial [a "memorandum" setting out the Philippines' position on the dispute] on March 30."

Another source said the offer had been made in January.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang rejected claims that such a proposal had been made regarding Scarborough Shoal, known in China as Huangyan Island.

Missing the deadline will weaken our case because it means we are not ready
Retired diplomat Lauro Baja

"China's determination of upholding territorial sovereignty and integrity is unshakeable. We will not do any trade with our territory and maritime rights and interest," Qin said.

"The Philippines side wants to file arbitration against China on the issue. We are opposed to that and we will never accept that. Our position has not changed."

According to Golez, Beijing was not asking Manila to scrap the arbitration case altogether, but that they postpone filing it until after the March 30 deadline set by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

Lauro Baja, a retired Philippine diplomat and former president of the United Nations Security Council, said that "missing the deadline will weaken our case because it means we are not ready. The [public] perception will be negative".

Two Philippine sources familiar with China's offer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that President Benigno Aquino had discussed the proposal, which included other incentives as well as the withdrawal, with his cabinet in January.

While Aquino has not publicly acknowledged the offer, the sources pointed to the president's February 4 interview with The New York Times as "partly" a response to the proposed deal.

"If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?" he told the newspaper. He later added: "At what point do you say, 'Enough is enough'? Well, the world has to say it - remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent world war two."

Golez explained why accepting the offer would have been wrong for the Philippines. "That is not a fair exchange [because China should be the one to] withdraw from our own exclusive economic zone, where Scarborough is located," he said.

Zhang Mingliang, a specialist in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said China feared that the Philippines' bid to internationalise the South China Sea dispute would complicate the situation.


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This article is now closed to comments

Never, never give any carrot to a lackey sick nation like Philippines. If they want to fight as they have thinking about that thru their words and deeds, so be it.
be.way5 you dont have say that becoz we will never accept any offer from your country just to withdraw our claim on that area,,LEts meet in the intl court and and present all your evidence and prove it that you have all the legal rights in the west Philippine sea!
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fetus-eating nation... tainted milk-drinking nation... spitting/yelling nation... no shower/unshaved underarm nation... no teeth brushing nation...
u mean china ?
just exactly what have you been smoking lately....your comment is not only offensive but tells a lot of yourself...
go chill out and have a Tsingtao...
be.way.5: be careful what you wish for. The PLA is not the same army who fought rather well in the Korean War. Now most soldiers in PLA are "only children" due to years of the one child policy in China. Most Chinese families do not have the appetite to lose their only child in a stupid war. Philippine families average 7-8 children. China military is a paper tiger. Philippine military is incompetent - but if push came to shove, I'd put my money on the Philippines (maybe with a little help from Japan, Australia, USA, Vietnam) who would like to see China diminished.


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