‘China not an enemy’ despite sea row
The Philippines does not consider China an “enemy” despite disputes over the West Philippine Sea, an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
During the hearing of the Senate committee on national defense, DFA Assistant Secretary Benito Valeriano reported that the Philippines has already filed at least eight diplomatic protests since April 2014 over China’s reported massive reclamation and dredging activities in disputed waters.
This, he said, did not include the three other protests they filed involving other incidents in the disputed waters like the ramming of the fishing vessels and water cannon incidents, among others.
Valeriano also enumerated other actions that were undertaken by the Philippine government to protest China’s activities in the West Philippines Sea.
But when asked by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, chairman of the committee, about the government’s policy toward China or whether it considers China an enemy, the DFA official said: “Your honor, China is not an enemy. In fact, we have bilateral relations with China; we have diplomatic relations.”
“Our approach to this is through the rule of law, that’s why we sought arbitration and even if China did not participate, it’s an option under UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas) for China not to participate and the tribunal that was composed for this arbitration has also engaged China to get this side of this arbitration,” Valeriano said. IDL
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