Ex-AFP chief urges Asean to support PH fight vs China aggression

Ex-AFP chief urges Asean members to support PH fight vs China’s aggression

/ 09:33 PM April 17, 2024

Former AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — A former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief is urging other Southeast Asian countries to support the Philippines in its fight against China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Former AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista noted that while several of its western allies supported the Philippines, no other Southeast Asian nation has expressed similar sentiments so far.


Bautista said that only 21 countries expressed support for the Philippines when China Coast Guard fired water cannons against its resupply boat en route to Ayungin Shoal last March 23, causing injuries to three Navy personnel.


READ: Injured Navy crew recount water cannon ordeal

Only 21 countries

“We saw 21 countries support us in that incident but these are just 21 countries. There are over 100 countries around the world,” Bautista was quoted as saying in a Stratbase ADR statement on Wednesday.

“And note that the 21 countries we’re talking about, none of them are Southeast Asian countries, which are the most important. We hope more will speak out. We hope, especially, that our brothers in Southeast Asia will also speak out,” said the 44th AFP chief-of-staff who served under former President Benigno Aquino III.

Bautista noted that while there is no enforcement mechanism for the 2016 arbitral ruling, more international pressure could push China into compliance.

International community

“But if all of us speak out, I mean the international community, then that will result in social pressure on any errant state,” Bautista said.

Other Southeast Asian countries are claimants to the contested Spratly Islands, parts of which belonged to the country under the Kalayaan Island Group inside the WPS.


Aside from China, the parties to this territorial dispute are other Southeast Asian countries, namely Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Beijing asserts sovereignty in the entire South China Sea, including most of the WPS, even if such a claim has been effectively invalidated by the international tribunal ruling which stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013.

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TAGS: AFP, AFP chief, China aggression, WPS

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