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MILF urges China to settle dispute with Manila peacefully

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The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has called on the People’s Republic of China to exercise restraint and settle the dispute over the Scarborough Shoal with the Philippine government peacefully and bring it to the United Nations specifically to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany for settlement.
Muhammad Ameen, Chairperson of the MILF Secretariat, made the appeal during an initial briefing on the current status of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation where middle level political and military leaders of the MILF were present.

Reiterating earlier call by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, he told his audience to pray to the Almighty for more successes of the current peace talks and not to over expect from it, explaining that the road ahead is still full of twists and turns.

“Anything can still happen, despite the initial breakthrough in two-year negotiation under the Aquino administration,” he warned them.

Ameen appealed to the Chinese government in Beijing to agree to settle the dispute with Manila through the good offices of the United Nations, even as he said the MILF leadership has a high level of trust with President Benigno Aquino III for his ability to settle this dispute to the best interest of the country.

Ameen also appealed to the Aquino administration to restrain the radical elements in his government from making provocative statements against Beijing, saying it is not only a bad policy but it is a regrettable decision in the end.

“It is not a wise move to provoke a very powerful enemy where one has no way to defeat in battle” he warned.

“Better prepare for the diplomatic battle in the United Nations and back this up with solid evidences of ownership of the disputed area,” he added.

He recalled that the Moros in Mindanao had once good relations with China especially during the Ming Dynasty. In fact, the Sulu sultan Paduka Batara and his sons moved to China, where he passed away and whose descendants are still traceable to this day. Few years back, some of his descendants came to Manila to look for their relatives in Sulu.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the Scarborough Shoal continues to heat up as more Chinese Navy boats are sent to the island, bringing the number to nine as of yesterday.

Aside from the two surveillance ships and six fishing vessels earlier sighted by the Philippine Coast Guard, an additional fishing vessel and an unidentified ship were seen in the area Friday.

At present, there are three Chinese vessels at Scarborough Shoal—the Yuzheng 310, a maritime surveillance vessel, and an unidentified boat—and seven Chinese fishing boats. Citing information from the Philippine Coast Guard, government spokesperson said there were two Philippine vessels in the area, the Coast Guard’s BRP Pampanga and a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship

The Philippines has deployed only two ships, one from the Philippine Navy and the other from the Coast Guard.




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