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Manila hands off latest China-US sea spat

The Philippines is staying off a maritime incident involving China and the United States near the disputed Scarborough or Panatag Shoal in the South China Sea.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang does not want to take part in the issue between the two world superpowers and believes the two countries can resolve it on their own.

“We do not wish to be part of a US-China intramural. The United States can take care of its own interest,” Roque said.

A US Navy destroyer sailed near the shoal claimed by China this week, US officials said on Saturday, and Beijing vowed to take “necessary measures” to protect its sovereignty.

China’s foreign ministry said USS Hopper missile destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of Panatag Shoal, a triangular atoll located some 220 kilometers west of Luzon and subject to a rival claim by the Philippines.

The Palace official maintained that Scarborough Shoal is still part of Philippine territory. “The Philippines’ claim over Scarborough Shoal is recognized under our constitutional law and international law,” Roque said. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

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