DFA belies alleged PH’s pull-out from Ayungin Shoal

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The Department of Foreign Affairs today issued a statement to belie China’s allegation that the country has agreed to pull-out of the Ayungin Shoal.

In a remote corner of the South China Sea, 105 nautical miles from the Philippines, lies a submerged reef that Filipinos call Ayungin. In most ways it resembles the hundreds of other reefs, islands, rock clusters and cays that collectively are called the Spratly Islands. But Ayungin is different, In the reef’s shallows there sits a forsaken ship, manned by Filipino troops whose job is to keep China in check. (The New York Times)

“The BRP Sierra Madre, a commissioned Philippine Naval Vessel, was placed in Ayungin Shoal in 1999 to serve as a permanent Philippine Government installation in response to China‚Äôs illegal occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995. This was prior to the signing of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002.

“The Philippines reiterates that Ayungin Shoal is part of its continental shelf over which the Philippines has sovereign rights and jurisdiction,” the DFA statement reads.

The DFA dismissed allegations made by China that the Philippine government broke its “unequivocal commitment” to remove its stranded ship in Ayungin Shoal before signing the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002.
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