Former DFA chief claims China ‘deceitfully breached’ a US-brokered agreement during 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff

Posted on April 30, 2021

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Published April 29, 2021, 7:37 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday claimed that China “deceitfully breached” a United States-brokered agreement to settle the 2012 Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal standoff by not withdrawing its 30 ships from the area.

Former DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario (Manila Bulletin)

Del Rosario made this clarification in response to President Duterte’s statement blaming him and the previous administration for “backing out” during the standoff in the West Philippine Sea.

According to Del Rosario, the agreement was for all ships on both sides to withdraw from Scarborough by a certain hour.

“Accordingly, if my memory serves me correctly, we withdrew our one ship while China deceitfully breached our Agreement by not withdrawing their 30 or more ships,” the former DFA secretary said in a statement.

This unfortunate incident, he added, led the Philippines to seek a “peaceful and durable solution” by filing an arbitration case before the United Nations-backed tribunal in The Hague in 2013 that resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Philippines.

Del Rosario was referring to the July 12, 2016 Arbitral Award that favored the Philippine petition to invalidate China’s excessive nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

The former top diplomat, who was one of the architects of the arbitration case against China, said they were expecting the then-new Duterte administration to enforce the Arbitral Award for the benefit of the Filipino people.

“Instead, President Duterte did not waste time in advancing his declared embrace of Xi Jinping when he very quickly shelved the Arbitral Award in exchange for a promised US$24B in Chinese investments and assistance which, until now, has not materialized. President Duterte also announced in 2019 that he made a verbal agreement with Xi Jinping allowing the Chinese to fish in the West Philippine Sea in patent violation of our Constitution,” he said.

Del Rosario also lamented how the President accepted China’s “narrative of war” that was intended to sow fear and deter the Filipino people from asserting their internationally recognized rights in the West Philippine Sea.

“With due respect, as the incumbent Commander-in-Chief of our military, we urge the President to do his utmost to protect the West Philippine Sea and to be most wary of China’s duplicity,” he said.

In his televised Talk to the People episode Wednesday night, Duterte chided both Del Rosario and former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio for the loss of the Scarborough Shoal.

“You know, I have one question to Carpio and Albert. If you are bright, why did we lose the West Philippine Sea? That was during your time when you were in position),” the President stressed.

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