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Palace answers Beijing raps vs PH: ‘Xiao xi ni tien’

Secretary Edwin Lacierda. Inquirer file photo

It was Malacañang’s turn Wednesday to tell the Chinese off.

Using a smattering of Mandarin, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Chinese should be a bit more careful in issuing statements accusing the Philippines of provoking hostility in the region.

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Lacierda was referring to Chinese officials’ comments published on Tuesday in the People’s Daily accusing the Philippines of stirring up tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and warning the country not to take China’s patience for weakness.

The comments came after President  Benigno Aquino told Reuters in an interview on Monday that the Philippines might ask the United States to monitor the West Philippine Sea by deploying spy planes to the disputed area.

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‘Be careful’

“Can I say to the Chinese, ‘Xiao xi ni tien’? Be a little careful about your statements,” Lacierda said in a briefing for reporters.

“We see no reason why it should be viewed as a provocative statement on our part,” Lacierda said. “And as [President Aquino] said, by no stretch of imagination can you consider the Philippines an aggressor,” he said.

“The transcript would show the context by which the statement was made by the President. So [that’s] no issue to us,” Lacierda said.

Another Palace official, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang, said that while monitoring Philippine territories in the West Philippine Sea wasn’t meant to promote enmity in the region, asking US help for aerial surveillance was something “seriously” being considered.

Philippine option

Carandang on Tuesday said that Mr. Aquino’s statement  asking for US help in monitoring the disputed areas was in response to a question about government approval for overflights by US aircraft.

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Carandang said the President replied that it was one of the options.

Told that the Chinese foreign ministry also issued a statement saying that China hoped the Philippines would do things conducive to regional peace and stability, Lacierda said, “Dang ran (Of course).”

Lacierda said he was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother. He said he learned to speak Chinese in high school, at St. Jude Catholic School, beside Malacañang.

Coastal watch

Carandang said China should not see US help in surveillance as stirring up tensions.

“There is no aggressive intent here, but every country has the right to monitor its territory and to do whatever means it sees necessary,” he said.

Carandang said the Philippines had taken a number of actions to enhance its ability to monitor the sea-lanes within its territory.

The surveillance flights should be viewed in the context of the Philippines’ monitoring of its coastal waters, he said.

Originally posted: 3:52 pm | Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

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TAGS: China, Defense, Foreign affairs, government and politics, Philippines, sovereignty, Territory
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