Malacañang ‘confident’ China will withdraw vessels from West Philippine Sea

MALACANANG on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Chinese government will soon withdraw its vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“Kampante po tayo dahil sa malapit na pagkakaibigan, aalis at aalis din naman sila diyan (We are confident that because of our close friendship, they will soon leave),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said when asked what will be the government’s move if China refuses to pull out its vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the country cannot reclaim areas in the West Phlippine Sea where China are building structures “without any bloodshed.”

Duterte also said that the Philippines is “not in possession” of the same and even if the Philippine government asserts its claims, nothing will happen.

Roque echoed the President’s statements.

“Status quo tayo ngayon dahil hindi naman natin mababawi ‘yan kung wala tayong lakas para bawiin kung anong atin, lalo na yung mga artificial islands na ‘yan (Right now we are on status quo because we cannot reclaim that if we don’t have the force to take whatever is ours, especially the artificial islands there),” Roque said.