No 'Gentleman's Agreement' Between China, Philippines: Manila

Philippines denies agreement with China; tensions rise over maritime disputes and U.S. influence accusations.
  • bureau
  • 05:39 AM, May 7, 2024
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No 'Gentleman's Agreement' Between China, Philippines: Manila
Ren'ai Reef @China Military

Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., Secretary of the Philippines Department of National Defense, has firmly refuted any notion of an understanding between the Philippines and China, denouncing recent claims by the Chinese Embassy as a calculated maneuver to deceive.

In a statement on May 5, Secretary Teodoro dismissed the notion of a "new model" of engagement purportedly involving the Department of National Defense (DND), emphasizing that such insinuations were orchestrated by China through its embassy in Manila. He highlighted the timing of these assertions, coming shortly after international condemnation of China's actions at the recent SQUAD meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Secretary clarified that since assuming office in July of the previous year, he had prohibited any communication between the DND and the Chinese Embassy, following a courtesy visit by Ambassador Huang Xilian. During this visit, Secretary Teodoro asserted that no discussions or briefings on a supposed "gentleman's agreement" or "new model" had taken place, contradicting statements made by the Chinese Embassy.

"This charade must stop," Secretary Teodoro affirmed, underscoring the urgency of raising awareness about China's attempt to propagate falsehoods with the aim of sowing discord among the Filipino people and diverting attention from their unlawful activities within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“We advise our citizens, the media, and the international community to beware of China's methods of manipulation, interference, and malign influence in furthering its own interests,” the Secretary said.

Philippines violating agreement: China

On the same day, China criticized high-ranking Philippine officials for repeatedly denying the existence of an agreement on managing Ren'ai Reef, suggesting this damages the Philippines' international image. The Chinese embassy questioned why the Philippines refuses dialogue on maritime disputes and implies U.S. influence is behind Manila's actions.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s administration, perceived as aligned with the Biden administration, is seen as unlikely to honor agreements with Beijing. Despite past discussions and agreements regarding Ren'ai Reef, Manila now denies these arrangements, possibly due to U.S. pressure, the Chinese military said in a statement.

China asserted its historical and legal rights in the South China Sea, stating that Washington and Manila cannot change this reality. The statement warned that Manila's actions, influenced by external powers, could disrupt regional stability and ASEAN negotiations on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

No 'Gentleman's Agreement' Between China, Philippines: Manila
Chinese, Philippine coast guard vessels face off in South China Sea