DND troubled by China's sinking of Vietnamese boat

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

THE Department of National Defense (DND) said Wednesday that it is troubled by China's actuation to sink a Vietnamese fishing boat at the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

"We are troubled and wary of this incident. This is an indication of the volatility of the situation," said DND spokesman Peter Paul Galvez in a phone interview.

Galvez said the incident also highlights the need to exert efforts to avoid such incidents, including the signing of a Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea, a follow-up to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

"This further highlights the need to have efforts to avoid such incidents and accidents at sea. That is why the Philippines, in particular the DND, is pursuing the shared protocols of interaction and Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, code of conduct and not a DOC," he said.

The Philippines is also locked in a territorial dispute with China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei over the oil and minerals rich Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

China has turned aggressive in its claims over the past years.

Asked if the defense department is concerned China would also sink Filipino fishing vessels in the disputed region, Galvez said: "That's why we are wary...It's hard to issue a categorical statement and warn all (Filipino) fishermen."

Pressed what would the DND do to protect Filipino fishermen, Galvez said: "We'll continue to be vigilant. It's hard to issue a statement this early as it may cause panic to our fishermen."

Top security officials earlier that said they are not sending Navy ships in the Spratlys so as not to heighten the the tension with China. (VR/Sunnex)

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