DND urges China to practice ‘commitment to peace’
The Department of National Defense on Sunday welcomed a pronouncement by China’s leadership on its strong commitment to peace.
At the same time, the agency questioned China’s “display of offensive weaponry” during last week’s military parade in Tiananmen Square, when Chinese president Xi Jinping declared that they were a peace-loving people.
“We call on China’s government to show its sincerity by, at the least, stopping all ongoing construction and militarization activities and to refrain from restricting freedom of flight and navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” said DND spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez.
China is locked in a territorial dispute with the Philippines and other claimants to territories in the South China Sea. China is claiming the vast expanse and even conducted massive reclamation and construction activities in the area.
This is despite a 2002 Declaration of Conduct signed by claimant countries, who committed to maintain the status quo in the disputed region.
The Philippines, in asserting its claims covered by its exclusive economic zone, has brought the matter for arbitration before international bodies.
On Thursday, the Chinese president reiterated their commitment to peace and that they would not seek hegemony or expansion no matter how strong the nation would become.
The statement came amidst a display of force during the 70th anniversary commemoration of Japan’s surrender during World War II, held last Thursday in Tiananmen Square.
Thousands of Chinese soldiers marched on Tiananmen Square while hundreds of military vehicles, aircraft and weaponry were displayed.
“We reiterate our country’s incessant call for a rules-based and peaceful approach to this matter, which is shared not only by our neighbors in the region but by the rest of the international community,” Galvez said.
He pointed out that other nations have called on the Chinese government “to stop such activities that run counter to international law and agreements.”
According to Galvez, China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea are causing a major disruption in the security of Southeast Asia.
The activities of reclamation and construction on disputed territories have caused the destruction of marine ecosystems, as well as fish stock; restricting navigation and flight; and placing global trade in a worried state.
Galvez noted that the Chinese leadership has been disregarding these ill effects, as pointed out by other leaders, international groups and the Chinese people themselves.
“The Chinese leadership should go beyond deceitful rhetoric claiming peaceful efforts before all their aggression takes a greater and irreparable toll on the region and beyond. We have heard peace loving Chinese people living in many communities all over the world echoing this sentiment,” Galvez added.