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Defense chief counts on China’s word

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 07:28 AM December 08, 2018
delfin lorenzana

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday expressed hopes the Chinese would keep  their word of signing a code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea in three years—though he also took a swipe at Beijing’s dilly-dallying.

“I hope China fulfills that promise because it is China actually trying to delay this for the past six years already,” Lorenzana said in an interview with reporters in Makati City.

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Lorenzana said, however, that China’s commitment to a timetable was a “very good sign.”

“If you can meet it earlier, the better.”

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“I would rather it be done by next year, but we are not the only ones thinking about this. There are many [claimant] countries involved here,” Lorenzana said.

Despite proclamations by former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano that it would be alright if the code of conduct were not legally binding, Lorenzana pushed for the opposite.

“It should be legally binding … the problem in the WPS is the danger of miscalculations, misrepresentations. If we have this code of conduct, then we have assurance that [when] we do something, it [will be] in accordance with the code of conduct, and then there will be no misunderstanding and miscalculation,” Lorenzana said.

“What’s important is the troops on the ground … they should understand that the conduct is being covered by this code,” Lorenzana said.

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