‘Noy: Tight embrace of China comes at steep price of freedom to protect PH interest
MANILA, Philippines—Growing Philippine trade relations with China could come at a steep price—the Philippines’ national interest, according to former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, citing his experience with China during his administration.
“China has this history of beating you up and making it difficult for you in economic matters if it didn’t like your moves,” said Aquino following Mass for the 10th death anniversary of his mother, the Philippines’ first post-martial law President and democracy icon Corazon Aquino.
Aquino cited China’s sanctions on the Philippines on tourism, banana importation and others when his administration fought for the Philippines’ maritime territory in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.
Filing diplomatic protests against Chinese aggression in Philippine territory meant the Philippines “does not agree” with what China is doing. But Philippine officials, he said, must take further steps to protect the “freedom we have to do the right things.”
“We might be on the top 10 of their trading partners,” Aquino said referring to China. “But I thought our freedom to act according to our interest is being restricted because of these constant threat to punish us and beat us in economic matters,” Aquino added, speaking in Filipino.
Under Aquino, the Philippines filed a case against China’s mythical nine-dash line claim over virtually the entire South China Sea at the Permanent Court of Arbitration based in The Hague. The Philippines won that case but China refused to recognize it.Aquino’s successor, Rodrigo Duterte, swept the ruling under the rug following his shift in foreign policy to a tight embrace of China./TSB
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