Call in China envoy anew over 100 more ‘likely Chinese’ ships in WPS, DFA told
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to once again summon China’s top diplomat in Manila over the presence of an additional 100 “likely Chinese” ships in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.
“Kailangang ipatawag muli ng DFA ang Chinese Ambassador para sa masinsinang pag-uusap. Hindi pwedeng magpatuloy ang walang patid na pagmamalabis ng Tsina sa ating bansa. We, as a nation, are owed dignity and respect. Namimihasa na ang China,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(The DFA should once again summon the Chinese Ambassador for a thorough discussion. The incessant incursions of China in our country should no longer continue. We, as a nation, are owed dignity and respect. China is getting used to this.)
In April, the DFA already summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to express “utmost displeasure” over the “illegal, lingering presence” of Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
Hontiveros cited the report of US-based satellite technology company Simularity, which showed that over 200 “likely Chinese” ships were spotted inside the Philippines’ EEZ.
Since May, the number of ships inside the country’s EEZ spiked from 129 to 238, an increase of over 100 ships, according to Simularity.
The report detailed that “between mid-May and mid-June 2021, the number of ships within the Union Banks increased from 9 to 236 and the number of ships near Gaven (Burgos) Reef in Tizard Bank decreased from 234 to 71,” Hontiveros noted.
The senator expressed hopes that the DFA will lodge another diplomatic protest over this matter.
“Instead of de-escalating the tensions in the disputed waters, they doubled down. This clearly shows that China is shamelessly hellbent on aggravating the situation,” she said.
“Ilang buwan na tayong nagprotesta, nakiusap, at tumindig, ngunit binalewala lang niya lahat. Imbes na umalis sa ating mga teritoryo at sumunod sa batas, mukhang nagdagdag pa ng naglalakihang barko,” she added.
(We have been protesting for months, appealing and standing up but we were snubbed. Instead of leaving our territory and following the rule of law, it seems that their ships have increased in numbers.)
The senator then reiterated her call for Malacañang to “unambiguously condemn” China’s “incessant” presence in the West Philippine Sea.
Hontiveros had previously urged the Palace to strictly refrain from releasing statements that “weaken our claim in our own waters.”
She further believes that Malacañang should have a “clear position” against China’s incursions, like that of the DFA as well as the Department of National Defense (DND).
“The Palace should look Beijing straight in the eye and tell her (China) to remove her ships from our territories,” she said.
“Ngayon na dinagdagan pa ng Tsina ang mga barko nila, siguro naman aalma na ang Palasyo. Kung hindi pa rin, dapat tayong mga Pilipino ay matuto nang huwag pumili ng lider na hindi tayo napapanindigan,” Hontiveros added.
(Now that China seems to be increasing its ships, I think the Palace will now react. If not, it is us Filipinos who should learn to no longer pick a leader who won’t stand up for us.)
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