MANILA - China "outfoxed" the Philippines in the two nations' maritime dispute, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Wednesday.
Esperon made the remark after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Beijing cannot hide its "bullying" of fellow claimants in the disputed South China Sea.
When asked if he agreed with Lorenzana’s statement, Esperon said he preferred the word “outfoxed,” because he felt the Philippines was outsmarted in 2012 when it was the one that pulled back its forces during the Scarborough Shoal standoff.
Esperon also used the words "outnumbered, outmaneuvering."
“It remains a fact that we lost Scarborough Shoal, because of some miscalculations,” he said.
Esperon, meanwhile, said the Philippine and Chinese governments have yet to meet to compare the results of their investigations into the Reed Bank incident, where a Chinese ship rammed into an anchored Filipino boat and left 22 fishermen at sea.
A recent Pulse Asia survey showed nearly 4 in 10 Filipinos want Manila to pursue sanctions against the Chinese crew.