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Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte and China’s Xi Jinping allegedly had unwritten pact on South China Sea status quo

“This is not a secret deal. This was made public by former Foreign Affairs [Secretary] Alan Peter Cayetano, who said before that if there are no repairs, no improvements on the ship, no problem in Ayungin [the Philippines’ term for the Second Thomas Shoal] … only water and food will be supplied,” Roque said.

He explained that the deal also required China to cease construction activities on the Mischief Reef, located near the Second Thomas Shoal.

Roque, a lawyer by profession, refused to call it an “agreement” on Wednesday, saying instead it was only an “understanding” that the Philippine Navy’s monthly resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre would be allowed as long as they were for “humanitarian purposes”.

However, Roque claimed Beijing would be wrong to assume that such an agreement would be honoured by Marcos Jnr’s administration.

Roque’s revelation came in the wake of some lawmakers’ demands that Duterte shed light on the reported deal.

Marcos Jnr’s administration has not commented directly on Roque’s revelation, but the president on Wednesday said Manila would, in the coming weeks, implement “proportionate, deliberate and reasonable” countermeasures against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.


Chinese floating barrier blocks entrance to Philippine ships at South China Sea flashpoint

Roque defended his former boss, saying the agreement never required the removal of the BRP Sierra Madre, as China had previously suggested had been agreed to.

He also suggested that China believed the current resupply missions included deliveries of construction materials, and recommended leaving the BRP Sierra Madre in its dilapidated state rather than pushing forward with repairs and risking Beijing’s ire.

“You cannot force China