Teodoro: China’s ‘expansionist policy’ escalates maritime tension in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — China’s “expansionist policy” escalates the maritime tension in the West Philippine Sea and not the United States’ presence in the region, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said on Thursday.
“In terms of the Philippines, I respectfully disagree,” Teodoro said over ANC when asked to comment on concerns that the US presence escalates regional tensions.
“It is the expansionist policy of China that is escalating the tensions not only between us but between Vietnam and other actors,” he added.
This is evident with China’s new “10-dash line”, according to Teodoro.
“Their 10-dash line actually is the best proof that they want to escalate the tensions within the area, because now even Brunei is even affected, India is now affected, Nepal,” the official said, referring to the countries which protested the new demarcation released by China last month.
Teodoro made the reaction in view of Senator Robin Padilla’s concern about the presence of US Navy aircraft in the latest resupply mission in the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
But Teodoro pointed out that the aircraft flew in international air space.
“That is an international airspace, there is a freedom of navigation and overflight over international airspace, notwithstanding Ayungin in a Philippine territory,” Teodoro said.
However, the top defense official also stressed that the country needs to cooperate not only with the US but other “coalition of like-minded countries” like Japan, South Korea, Australia and even the Asean countries.