Have China and the Philippines ever reached an agreement on disputed islands? Have China and the Philippines ever reached an agreement on disputed islands?

Have China and the Philippines ever reached an agreement on disputed islands?

Have China and the Philippines ever reached an agreement on disputed islands?

Philippines clings to "gentleman's agreement" amid denial, dispute may escalate

As the China Coast Guard fired water cannons at Philippine ships in the waters off Scarborough Shoal on April 30, further escalating disputes in the South China Sea, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines responded to reporters’ questions in writing through a spokesperson on May 4. , in response to the Philippine Ministry of Defense’s denial on April 27 that the two sides had held dialogue on the dispute, they pointed out that the two sides had formed a “new model” of management and control on Second Thomas Shoal that “had nothing to do with the sovereignty of both parties.”

The statement even pointed out that the agreement was "repeatedly confirmed by the Western Philippine Military District, and the "new model" was approved by all key figures in the Philippine command chain, including the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor. China has detailed and complete records of the above-mentioned communication and negotiation process."

The latest statement comes after the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines responded to a reporter's question on May 2, repeatedly emphasizing that the two countries had reached an unwritten agreement on the dispute in 2016, and once again reiterated the position of the two sides that they had reached an agreement. The outside world believes that China may be firm in the future. stance, the conflict between the two countries in the South China Sea may further escalate.

In response to a reporter's question on April 18, a spokesperson for the website of the Chinese Embassy in Manila pointed out that China has repeatedly notified and negotiated with senior officials of the current Philippine government to reach a "gentleman's agreement" with the previous Philippine government on the Second Thomas Shoal issue, and Beijing invited the Philippines last year The special envoy for presidential dialogue visited China and reached an internal understanding on how to manage the situation. At the beginning of this year, Beijing reached a consensus with the Philippine military through diplomatic channels on a "new model" of supply transportation in the disputed shoal.

This statement was denied by Philippine Defense Secretary Teodoro on April 27. He pointed out in a statement that since President Marcos took office in 2022, the Department of Defense "has neither heard of nor participated in any internal agreement with China." Philippine Defense Department officials have never had any dialogue with any Chinese officials since last year.

In this regard, China’s latest statement not only emphasized the preservation of negotiation records, but even accused the Max administration of confusing them. "Why has the Marcos government repeatedly denied that it had negotiated with China to reach an understanding and arrangement on the management and control of Second Thomas Shoal? Why has the Philippine Ministry of National Defense refused to negotiate with China to resolve maritime disputes through dialogue? What if the "gentleman's agreement" was reached between the previous Philippine government and China? , so the "new model" was reached by the current Philippine government and China, and has been proven in practice to be able to manage differences and avoid conflicts. Why was it abandoned by the Philippines again without reason after it only worked once? The decision to abandon the "new model"? Is it against the interests of certain forces to manage differences and avoid conflicts?

The Philippines had not responded to China’s statement as of the evening of May 4, Asia time. However, current Philippine President Marcos and former President Duterte have separately stated that they have never reached any agreement with China that may harm the Philippines' sovereignty; according to the country's 1987 Constitution, signing a similar agreement may face impeachment.

Regarding China's constant claims of an agreement between the two countries, current President Marcos said on April 15 that he was convinced that his predecessor Duterte had reached a questionable "secret agreement" with China on the South China Sea issue, but No records exist.

Since Marcos took office, conflicts between China and the Philippines have continued in the South China Sea. The Philippines summoned China’s deputy ambassador to the Philippines on May 2 to protest China’s harassment of Philippine ships. Reuters quoted a Philippine official as saying that this is the 20th time the Philippines has lodged a protest with China over the South China Sea issue this year and the 153rd protest during the term of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

On May 2, the defense ministers of the United States, Japan, Australia and the Philippines held a four-way defense ministers’ meeting in Hawaii. After the meeting, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin pointed out on the South China Sea issue that the United States has made its position clear to everyone, including Beijing. He pointed out, “This is an irresponsible act that we see putting Filipino crews in danger, causing injuries to crew members and damage to ships, and ignores international laws.” He also reiterated that the United States is committed to the 1951 Treaty between the United States and the Philippines. The joint defense treaty promised to be "ironclad", emphasizing that Washington and Manila stand together.

Philippine Defense Secretary Teodoro expressed support for the principles of international law regarding territorial sovereignty at a press conference and welcomed the four countries to work together. He emphasized that his and Austin's responsibilities as defense secretaries are to "ensure that the activation of a joint defense treaty does not occur" through military force building and deterrence. "We must defend our rights, but do it in a way that protects the safety of every member of the Philippine military," he said.

In recent months, U.S. officials, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have repeatedly emphasized that any attack on Philippine aircraft, ships or troops in the South China Sea will trigger the U.S.-Philippines Joint Defense Treaty.


  1. China claims a "gentleman's agreement" with the Philippines over South China Sea disputes, but Philippine officials deny any such deal.

  2. The latest statement comes after the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines responded to a reporter's

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