Escudero: Let’s not be ‘cowed’ by China’s threats
MANILA, Philippines — Some senators protested on Monday China’s warning against the Philippines strengthening military alliance with the United States.
“We have every right, as with China and any sovereign nation, to pursue a foreign policy that serves our national interest and should not be cowed by such threats which I do not consider ‘friendly’ at all,” Senator Francis Escudero said in a statement.
“And I thought they want to be our friend,” Escudero added.
China’s warning stemmed from the United States and Manila’s plan to expand the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) locations in the Philippines.
According to a statement by the Chinese Embassy in Manila over the weekend, the US’ continued interest and strengthening of its military alliance with Manila could “seriously harm Philippine national interests and endanger regional peace and stability.”
But Escudero countered this statement.
“Isn’t what China is doing re Taiwan and the West Philippine Sea also “undermining the stability of the region?” he asked.
“Bago nila pansinin ang dumi sa mata natin, dapat manalamin muna sila…” he further said.
Senator JV Ejercito also contradicted China’s claim that the US was dragging the Philippines to war.
“I think they are the ones who are very aggressive and hostile,” Ejercito said in an interview at the Senate.
“Ako talagang naiinis ako, umiiit ulo ko pag nakikita ko yung ginagawa nila sa ating mga Navy and now recently yung ating Coast guard, very hostile sila e.”
(I really get pissed whenever I see what they are doing with our Navy, and now recently with our Coast Guard, they are very hostile.)
“They claim to be a friend to the Philippines but what they are doing is a contrary to what they are saying,” Ejercito added.
According to him, China must first show its sincerity and must respect the Philippines’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, meanwhile, explained that the military exercises with other nations particularly with the US are just “for the defense of the country and not for the invasion of China.”
“We are not waging a war against China. In fact, China is our trade partner,” Estrada said in another statement.
He warned that “any confrontation between two major powers could be devastating for the world economy.”
“We remain committed to keeping peace and prosperity in the region,” Estrada said.
For Senator Imee Marcos, the Philippines might only be dragged into the so-called “Taiwan question” if the proposed additional Edca sites would be used by the US to launch missile, rocket or other attacks in case a conflict occurs in Taiwan.
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