Cayetano hits back at Aquino for questioning transparency on West PH sea row

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Foreign Affairs chief Alan Peter Cayetano says despite criticisms, he is not judging the administration of former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on their approach to the South China Sea row.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 31) — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano slammed former President Benigno Aquino III for questioning the Duterte administration's transparency on the West Philippine Sea negotiations.

"On the contrary, maybe President Aquino should ask former Secretary Albert del Rosario, 'Were you transparent with me?'" Cayetano said in his pre-departure briefing to Singapore Thursday.

Aquino on Saturday called for transparency in the Duterte administration's negotiations in the West Philippine Sea dispute.

But Cayetano said despite their criticisms, he is not judging the Aquino administration on their approach to the maritime row.

"They made a decision when it comes to China. I'm not judging them on that. But their problem is they want to impose their strategy on this administration. And their problem was their strategy was not working," he said.

He explained that while the two administrations do not see eye to eye on how to handle the dispute, they both want the issue resolved.

"Hindi kalaban ng Duterte administration ang Aquino administration [The Duterte administration is not the enemy of the Aquino administration]," he said.

Cayetano is set to meet with his counterparts at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Singapore, ahead of the ASEAN summit in November.

He is set to have bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Singapore, Australia, China, Timor Leste, Vietnam, India, Norway, Iran and the United States.