By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: One News

Malacañang thumbed down the suggestion of Vice President Leni Robredo for a multilateral approach in addressing the rising tension in the West Philippine Sea.

In a Monday media presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the country’s bilateral talks with China have been working under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In her weekly radio show, Robredo said if all will be done through bilateral talks, the Philippines would not be able to protect its territorial rights.

“The President po is the lone architect of foreign policy. Hindi po totoo na hindi gumagana ang ating bilateral approach to the West Philippine Sea kasi matapos po ang halos limang taon na termino ni Presidente, wala po tayong nawalang teritoryo sa Tsina, wala po tayong hidwaan sa Tsina,” Roque said.

“So I beg to disagree. The President’s policy has been working for the past five years,” he added.

The West Philippine Sea issue rose anew after 200 Chinese militia vessels were spotted in the Julian Felipe Reef which prompted the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a series of diplomatic protests against China.

While Duterte reiterated that he would not withdraw the country's naval assets in the contested waters, he said that the Philippines will not waste its “best relations” with China.

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