Pullout only covers Scarborough lagoon: DFA

Posted at 06/19/12 9:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - China has pulled out its vessels from the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal and so has the Philippines, but those outside the lagoon is another matter, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In an interview with ANC, Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said: “The fact of the matter is that both sides agreed to pulling out the vessels from inside the lagoon. This is already being done.”

He said the Philippines pulled out government ships on June 5, while the Chinese did likewise with their patrol vessels. “Now, they’re pulling out their fishing vessels.”

He said the vessels outside the lagoon “is a subject of a future consultations…We’ll deal with that in the next rounds of consultations.”

In a statement Monday, the Chinese Embassy said they have no plans of pulling out vessels from the disputed shoal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei wondered “where the so-called commitment the Philippine side mentioned on China’s withdrawal of vessels came from.”

Hong said China hopes “the Philippine side can restrain their words and behaviors, and do more things conducive to the development of the bilateral relations.”

Hong said the Chinese fishing boats are “on their way back for shelter,” only because of the rough seas.

Hong reiterated China will “continue to maintain administration and vigilance” over Scarborough.