‘Hardheaded’: Hontiveros hits China amid continued presence of Chinese ships in WPS
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called China “hardheaded” and the “biggest bully” as she slammed the continued presence of Chinese vessels at the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
“Ang titigas ng ulo. The Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe reef should leave immediately. If they are fishing vessels as China claims, then they can’t fish in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without our consent. Misunderstanding nga ba o sadya na tayong niloloko?” Hontiveros said in a statement.
She also said the Philippines was “not alone” and the international community stands with the country in condemning “continued deceit and aggression.”
“China better pack up and leave The world is catching on to China’s gray zone smokescreen. How long will it keep using ‘civilian’ vessels to pursue military activities in our EEZ? A strategy based on lies and deception does not always make one sublime; sometimes, it also exposes one as lying,” she added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier reiterated that the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest over the presence of the ships in the area.
“We, again, reiterate our demand for the Chinese to leave our sovereign territories and abide by international law,” Lorenzana also said.
Hontiveros also called China as “Asia’s biggest bully” for continuing to “pester” in the West Philippine Sea.
“The Chinese Communist Party wants to be Asia’s leader but, instead, it has become Asia’s biggest bully. Instead of uniting the region, it has united the region against it. How long can such a regime hold any sort of mandate to lead the region?” she said.
Further, she reiterated that the Philippine government should have already had effective ways of making “China pay for its incursions.”
“Beijing has already damaged parts of the sea that are beyond repair and it’s only right that it pays for this irreversible destruction,” she said.
“We need to act now. We need to expel these ‘fishing vessels’ from our EEZ and dismantle all illegal structures on the reefs and features we claim. Every delay on our end is an opportunity for China to seize what is justly and rightfully ours,” she added. Liezelle Soriano Roy, trainee
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