THE Duterte administration on Sunday distanced itself from China's protest over a United States guided missile destroyer's alleged trespassing near Scarborough Shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
"We do not wish to be part of a US-China intramural," Presidential Spokesperon Harry Roque said in a statement.
He said the US could "take care of its own interest."
"The Philippines' claim over Scarborough Shoal is recognized under our constitutional law and international law," Roque added.
China has accused Washington of trespassing when USS Hopper sailed near Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday without Beijing's permission.
“We hope that the US respects China’s sovereignty, respects the efforts by regional countries and do not make trouble out of nothing," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian has said.
The Philippines has also been claiming Scarborough Shoal off Zambales province for being within its 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea.
Aside from the Philippines and China, other claimants in the disputed waters are Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)