Fourth of a series on the South China Sea dispute*
HURT by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s remarks that “President Aquino mismanaged the Philippine sea dispute with China,” former Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario blabbered too much in order to hit back.
Middle of the night
Del Rosario immediately ordered, in the middle of the night, the BFAR and Coast Guard vessels to pull out, leaving the Chinese in complete control of the shoal. Aquino would only find out about the pull-out when he woke up – a bit late – the following morning. With our vessels leaving what we claim as our territory, we have lost it – forever, as it were.
Indeed, the Aquino government’s suit against China was not just over the Philippines’ territorial disputes with it but over the superpower’s sweeping claim over the South China Sea, particularly its so-called “nine-dash line.” China asserts in its maps that this crudely sketched tongue-shaped line, even if undefined in terms of geographical coordinates, demarcates its territory in the South China Sea.
* Others in this series:
“Aquino, Del Rosario and media hid the loss of Panatag to China from the nation,” June 25, 2018
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