‘Hallucinating’ China should ‘stop contorting facts’ in WPS claims — Hontiveros
MANILA, Philippines — China should “stop contorting facts” in order to support its “baseless” claims in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Senator Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday after a Chinese official told the Philippines to “respect” Beijing’s sovereignty over the area.
“Let us make it clear: Beijing has been the one disrespecting the Philippines’ sovereignty; not the other way around,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Beijing needs to stop contorting facts to suit [its] baseless claims. May I also remind Beijing that since the previous millennium, the South China Sea has always been shared by the region, as a common maritime route and a source of fish and marine resources,” she added.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, in a press briefing Monday, said the Philippines should “stop actions complicating the situation and escalating disputes.”
Hontiveros, however, was alarmed by the statement, saying that it is China that is harassing Filipino fisherfolk, reclaiming land in territories it does not own, and “even using war vessels to chase off Filipino civilians.”
“It seems that China is the one hallucinating. She must be the one living in an alternate reality,” the senator added.
If China sincerely wants to avoid escalation, Hontiveros said it should withdraw its vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
“China can’t even respect freedom of navigation on the high seas, and now [it] wants respect for her unfounded nine-dash line?” she added.
She noted many countries and organizations have expressed concern over the continuing Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
“The international community has come out to support the Philippines’ rights and interests, even referencing our historic 2016 victory at the Hague to repeatedly remind China to follow the rules-based international order,” she added.
“If China truly wants respect, she should stop twisting and contesting the basic principles of international law. Just accept the hard truth: the West Philippine Sea belongs to us, not you,” she further said.
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