Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Yasay: Note verbale sent to China after intel verification

FILE - In this July 26, 2016, file photo, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, stands with Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay Jr. after they pose for a photo during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Vientiane, Laos. AP/Sakchai Lalit

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines' top diplomat on Tuesday revealed that the country sent a note verbale to Beijing after verifying that it has installed weapons in the disputed South China Sea.

Last month, Washington-based CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported that China appears to have built anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its man-made islands in the disputed waters.

The Philippines filed a low-key diplomatic protest with China following this report.

READ: Satellite photos show China weapons in South China Sea

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said that the Philippines issued the note verbale as a matter of course or as part of policy.

"When I got the report about this installation we had our people, especially the intelligence community, verify all of these things and when the verification came in we, as a matter of course, sent a note verbale to China," Yasay said in an interview with ANC's Headstart.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Yasay refused to reveal the details of the note verbale, explaining that it is a confidential correspondence between the two countries.

'Threat to national interest'

The Foreign Affairs chief added that the Philippine government saw a threat to national interest following the China's actions in the South China Sea.

"We saw a threat to our national interest so these are normal things that we do generally. It is a communication where we ask for verification from China and also make sure that we are not taking this sitting down but it's not unusual," Yasay said.

The note verbale was issued less than a month before Yasay confirmed it earlier this week.

"The beauty about note verbale is that you open channels of communication without fanfare so immediately after that you know our people get to talk to their counterparts and this is the way how you try to address the situation," the Foreign Affairs secretary said.

Yasay stressed that the Philippines will continue to protect its sovereignty rights over the South China Sea despite the efforts of President Rodrigo Duterte to renew ties with China.

"When you want to renew ties with another country, it does not mean that you're compromising or eroding our rights on certain matters in this particular matter our sovereignty rights over the exclusive economic zone that under UNCLOS is ours," Yasay said.

The Philippines, however, will set aside the Permanent Court of Arbitration's decision on the South China Sea dispute until China is ready to negotiate under this framework.

Manila recognizes the arbitral tribunal's ruling as a firm legal foundation of its claims in the contested waters.

"We have always made clear that when we are able and ready to engage China in bilateral talks with respect to the disputed territory in the South China Sea we will move forward on the basis of the arbitral tribunal's ruling. That is the framework which we will be moving forward," the Foreign Affairs chief said.

RELATED: Duterte says he'll set aside sea feud ruling against China | Yasay reiterates: Duterte will not deviate from tribunal ruling on South China Sea

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1