Philippines urged to honor Gentleman's Agreement on Ren'ai Jiao

2024-04-19 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Ren'ai Jiao (File photo/

China will continue to adhere to the "gentleman's agreement" that was sealed during the previous Philippine administration in "managing the situation on the ground, maintaining peace and preventing conflicts" at the Ren'ai Jiao in the South China Sea, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement issued Thursday.

The gentleman's agreement "has nothing to do with our respective sovereign positions", said the statement. Moreover, "the gentleman's agreement is no secret in that relevant departments and agencies of our two sides had worked under its guidance, effectively maintaining peace and stability at Ren'ai Jiao until early February 2023, or seven months into the incumbent Philippine administration," said the statement.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr assumed office in June 2022 and visited China in early January of 2023.

The embassy said that apart from the meetings of China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea, the Chinese government has invited the Philippine President's special envoy to China for special concerns to Beijing last September to discuss how to properly manage the situation at Ren'ai Jiao, which resulted in an internal understanding.

Teodoro Locsin Jr, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, also serves as the Philippine President's special envoy to China for special concerns.

The embassy said a "new model" for management of the Ren'ai Jiao situation was also agreed upon by both sides early this year after rounds of serious communications with the Philippine military.

"Regrettably, only one round of resupply mission was carried out within the realm of these understandings and arrangements before they were unilaterally abandoned by the Philippine side for no good reason," the embassy said.

The Philippine government is yet to issue a comment on the Chinese embassy's latest statement.

Harry Roque, former presidential spokesperson, said in an interview in March that former president Rodrigo Duterte had an agreement with China that the status quo will be maintained in the disputed South China Sea. This agreement includes refraining from constructing and repairing installations of a dilapidated Philippine military vessel that was grounded at Ren'ai Jiao in the Nansha Qundao for over 20 years while allowing for monitored supply of daily necessities for people on the vessel.

But when asked about the agreement, Philippine President Marcos said in a press briefing that he was "horrified" about the terms of the agreement, adding that this compromised "the sovereign rights of the Filipinos". He said he was shocked and didn't know anything about the agreement, and that the previous administration didn't provide information about it.

But the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said that since the Marcos' administration took office, China has repeatedly briefed the Marcos administration on matters related to the agreement, made representations regarding the Ren'ai Jiao issue, and remained committed to exploring ways of managing the differences through dialogue and consultation.

"China once again urges the Philippines to honor its commitments and consensus with China, show sincerity, stop provocations, return to the right track of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible, and work with the Chinese side to properly manage the situation at Ren'ai Jiao and safeguard the hard-won peace and stability in the South China Sea," the embassy said.

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