MANILA, Philippines – The new Philippine foreign secretary has made sensitive remarks about territorial disputes in the South China Sea that were broadcast live by the state-run TV network before it abruptly cut away from its coverage of the new president's first Cabinet meeting.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay's remarks Thursday during the meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet touched on how the government should respond to a much-anticipated international arbitration ruling on July 12.
Yasay spoke about his opposition to an apparent wish by foreign governments for Manila to issue a stronger statement on the territorial dispute if the tribunal rules favorably. It wasn't clear if he knew his remarks were being televised.
The Philippines challenged the validity of China's vast territorial claims in the 2013 case it filed against Beijing.