It’s DFA’s fault, says Trillanes on Asean communiqué debacle
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV says the Department of Foreign Affairs has a lot of explaining to do on the failure of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ to issue a joint declaration on the dispute on the West Philippine Sea. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Noy Morcoso III
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV blamed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Thursday for “not doing [its] homework” which led to the failure of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to issue a joint statement that would address recent territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
The DFA had earlier issued a statement blaming Cambodia, which hosted the Asean Foreign Ministers’ meeting and an ally of Beijing, for “consistently opposing any mention of the Scarborough Shoal at all” in the joint communiqué.
“The DFA should have done [its] homework. Didn’t they know that that was what’s going to happen?” Trillanes said during an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM Thursday.
News reports had it that Beijing influenced Cambodia to get rid of the China-Philippine dispute in the Asean communiqué.
Scarborough Shoal, known locally as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, has been the site of a recent standoff between China and the Philippines over territorial claims.
China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a resource-rich area that is home to vital shipping lanes, despite competing claims from Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
“They should have anticipated that to make sure that debacle would not happen,” Trillanes said.
He also blasted the DFA for being too much of a “war freak” than the military. “But they are not the ones who will be heading to the front,” he said.
“DFA should first exert all available means to resolve this peacefully and diplomatically; they are being too aggressive,” Trillanes said.
He also said that the navy will end up being caught in the middle if the DFA continues to be “hot-headed.”
Trillanes said that he received information that there are no more ships in Scarborough Shoal. China only has three ships near the disputed areas. He said he does not understand what DFA is getting upset about.
“[The] fear that China will build an outpost there in Scarborough was never true all along,” he said.
“It’s better that we just course this through peaceful means,” Trillanes said.
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