Someday PH will thank China for reef structures – Roque
The Philippines will one day “thank” China for the artificial islands it has built in the disputed South China Sea, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
But this would only happen if the Philippines will be able to ask China to leave the artificial islands it has reclaimed in the disputed sea.
“There will come a time when China‘s might had ceased, when we will have to thank them for the islands because it is only the Philippines that can legally build on those artificial islands,” Roque said in an interview aired on Wednesday on his Facebook page.
“Clearly, eventually, those artificial islands will be ours if we can ask China to leave the islands,” he added.
In July 2016, the Phlippines won a landmark victory after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague favored its diplomatic protest against China, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea.
But China refused to honor this and continued with its reclamation and militarization of artificial islands in the disputed waterway.
On Monday, Feb. 5, INQUIRER.net published aerial photographs taken from June to December 2017 showing China has almost finished transforming seven reefs claimed by the Philippines into island fortresses.
But Roque reiterated there was nothing new in the developments.
“There is nothing new happening in the islands now,” he said.
He said the Philippines had already filed diplomatic protest regarding Chinese build up in the disputed sea.
“They are saying they have completed, it is effectively a military base, but we’ve known that. And we have protested that,” he said.
“They are saying we should protest. We did that. Do you want to protest every minute, every day?” he added. “What else will the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] do if that is the case? But the truth of the matter is, better to have friendly relations now because while we can’t stand up to them. Let’s not give them the opportunity to use their weapons in these artificial island against us.”
Roque reiterated that the Philippines would not wage a war against China.
“No, we don’t want [that],” he said. “And moreover, why should we even bother? Because there is already a decision in our favor, that those islands anyway are in our exclusive economic zone.” /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.