Teodoro dismisses China state media’s taunt on PH, US joint patrol
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Monday expressed his disregard for Chinese state media’s dismissal of the country’s recent joint patrols with the United States counterparts in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Quoting a “Chinese military expert,” state backed-tabloid Global Times on Nov. 20 said that the patrols of Manila and Washington is nothing but a “large-scale bluff.”
The piece also slammed the vessels and aircrafts which participated in the WPS joint patrol, saying that they “showed poor combat capability and lack of effective collaborative capacity.”
Teodoro, however, said that they are missing the point.
“Whatever we respond to China, they have their narrative anyway,” Teodoro said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“If they laugh it off, if they laugh off significant initiatives …[that] is to their detriment,” he added.
Manila and Washington conducted a three-day joint patrol in the WPS, with a People’s Liberation Army aircraft and warship also shadowing their activities, as witnessed by Inquirer and other Filipino journalists aboard the American surveillance aircraft monitoring the exercise.
Despite a 2016 international tribunal ruling effectively dismissing its claims, Beijing continues to assert sovereignty to almost the entire South China Sea (SCS) with its claims overlapping with the western section of Manila’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Parts of the SCS inside the Philippines’ EEZ are locally referred to as the WPS.
Coastal nations have sovereign rights on their own EEZ, but other states could still invoke their right of freedom of navigation and overflight.