By Gloria Jane Baylon
MANILA, May 3 (PNA) — The Philippines does not intend to drag the United States into Manila’s territorial dispute with China on what is internationally mapped as the South China Sea, notwithstanding Manila-Washington’s time-tested bilateral alliance.
This was stressed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario in Washington, where he addressed the conservative American think tank, The Heritage Foundation, on May 2.
He and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin are in Washington for the so-called “2+2” Ministerial Meeting with U.S. counterparts Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta.
A high-seas standoff and diplomatic tiff currently sours Manila-Beijing relations, over their conflicting claims over the Scarborough Shoal — known as “Huangyan Dao” to China and “Panatag” to the Philippines.
It was triggered by an incident on April 8, when Chinese vessels were spied upon inside the shoal’s lagoon and a newly-acquired Philippine warship soon coasted along to confiscate alleged illegal harvests of endangered marine species such as giant clams.
Not budging on their respective claim of territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction, neither “golden friend” has left the area as of press time.
Del Rosario stressed that the Philippines-United States alliance %