Palace: Diplomacy key to ending sea dispute
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday said the actions of the Philippines have always been geared towards the diplomatic resolution of the standoff with China over Scarborough shoal.
“From our viewpoint, the Philippine government has always acted within our commitment to pursue the resolution of the issue through diplomatic means and all the actions have always been towards that goal,” deputy residential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei has previously said that China hopes that "the Philippine side can restrain their words and behaviors, and do more things conducive to the development of the bilateral relations."
China on Monday welcomed President Aquino's order pulling out two ships from Scarborough shoal.
Aquino ordered a coast guard patrol vessel and a fisheries bureau survey ship out of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea on Friday night.
Philippine officials added, however, that the order was only meant to protect the vessels and their crew during the cyclone season, and did not mean the country was giving up on the shoal.
A statement on the Chinese embassy's website Monday said Beijing had deployed a vessel to help its fishermen pull out of the shoal as well due to bad weather and a strong tide.