Arroyo ready to defend baselines bill
If issue raised at ASEAN summit
By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:24:00 02/25/2009
MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is ready to defend the country’s baselines bill before China and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), when she attends the regional bloc’s 14th summit in Thailand later this week, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
China has protested the baselines bill, calling it a violation of its sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which were defined under the measure as a “regime of islands under the Republic of the Philippines” even as these were excluded from the national territory,
Asked if Arroyo would defend the baselines bill, should the need arise, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said: “Definitely.”
“The President is informed properly of the positions taken by the Chinese government… The President is conversant on the issue. I’m sure she will be able to discuss the matter in a very intelligent manner, and even [with] leaders of other claimant countries,” he said.
Also high on the agenda of the summit are the measures undertaken by ASEAN-member nations to weather the global recession, Ermita said.
Arroyo will leave for Thailand early Saturday morning.
Aside from the Philippines and China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brueni, and Tawian also lay claim to the reportedly oil-rich Spratlys in whole or in part.
The Philippines, China, and Taiwan claim the Scarborough Shoal.
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