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Philippines ready for backlash from China
“We will protect our national interest, which includes the economy,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. during a press briefing in Malacanang.
Coloma it is the duty of the government to promote the welfare of its citizens and to ensure the orderly and stable growth of the national economy.
On Chinese charge d’affaires Sun Xiangyang’s statement that what the Philippines did “seriously damaged bilateral relations with China,” Coloma quoted President Benigno Aquino III, who said during his 2011 state visit to China that “the totality of Philippine-People’s Republic of China relations is not defined by the West Philippine Sea.”
Manila and Beijing are quarreling over the clusters of island in the West Philippine Sea. Both are laying claim to the Kalayan Group of Islands, Ayungin and Scarborough Shoals.
Last March 30, the Philippines filed a memorial at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) against China.